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/TAf Story of The Great War 

: History of the European 
War from Official Sources 


T'refaced by 










^f fdited by 


Former Reference Librarian of Congress iissociate Editor, The New International Encyclopedia 


Editor in Chief, Photographic History of the Civil War 

O L L I E R 


O N 



C^K!{-'^^ WAR 

■ i' i-v L Hj jM i O ' 

A great war Zeppelin on a bomb-dropping expedition is sailing 
over an enemy city. High above it are the city's defending air- 
craft — a biplane and a monoplane — ready to attack the raider 
with their machine guns 







Copyright 1916 
By p. F, Coixier & Sow 






























Campaign in the Caucasus 9 

Turkish Advance Against Egypt 15 

Failure of "Holy War" Propaganda ....... 21 

Results of First Six Months of Turkish Campaign . 25 

The Dardanelles — Strategy of the Campaign .... 27 

Fortifications and Strength — First Movements ... 34 


Why Japan Joined the Allies 40 

Military and Naval Situation in the Far East ... 46 

Beginning of Hostilities — Attacks on Tsing-tau Forts . 52 

Capture of Tsing-tau 60 


Campaign in Togoland and the Cameroons .... 62 
German Southwest Africa — Rebellion in Union of South 

Africa 68 


Preparations for an Offensive 79 

Battle of Neuve Chapelle Begins 83 

Operations Following Neuve Chapelle 92 

Beginning of Second Battle of Ypres 99 

The Struggle Renewed 106 

Other Actions on the Western Front 115 

Campaign in Artois Region 121 

British Forward Movement — Battle of Festubert . . 128 

Sir John French Attempts a Surprise 134 

Attacks at La Bassee 140 

Operations Around Hooge 146 

Franco-German Operations Along the Front .... 151 

Campaign in Argon ne and Around Arras 158 

Belgo-German Operations 166 





XXVII. The Wak Zone 170 

XXVIII. Attack on the Dardanelles 174 

XXIX. German Raiders and Submarines 179 

XXX. Italian Participation—Operations in Many Waters . 186 

XXXI. Story of the Emden 193 

XXXII. Summary op the First Year of Naval Warfare . . 206 

XXXIII. Fights of the Submarines 209 

XXXIV. Sinking op the Lusitania 222 


XXXV. The Carpathian Campaign — Review op the Situation . 235 

XXXVI. Battle of the Passes 241 

XXXVII. Battle of Koziowa — Operations in the Bukowina . . 244 

XXXVIII. Fall of Przemysl 249 

XXXIX. New Russian Offensive — Austro - German Counter- 
offensive 258 

XL. Campaign in Galicia and Bukowina — Battle op thb 


XLI. Russian Retreat 276 

XLII. Austro-German Reconquest op Western Galicia . . 281 

XLIII. Campaign in Eastern Galicia and the Bukowina . . 289 

XLIV. Russian Change of Front — Retreat to the San . . 293 

XLV. Battle of the San 297 

XLVI. Recapture of Przemysl . 301 

XLVII. Capture of Lemberg 306 


XLVIII. Winter Battles of the Mazurian Lakes 313 

XLIX. The Russians Out of Germany 317 

L. Tightening op the Net — Report of the Booty . . . 319 

LI. Battles of Przasnysz — Before Mlawa 324 

LII. Fighting Before the Niemen and Bobr — Bombardment 


LIII. Russian Raid on Memel 334 

LIV. German Invasion op Courland — Capture of Libau . . 337 
LV. Russian Offensive from Kovno — Forest Battles in 

May and June 342 





LVI. Campaign in Southern Poland — Movement upon War- 
saw 345 

LVII. Battle op Krasnik — Capture of Przasnysz .... 348 

LVIII. Grand Offensive on the Warsaw Salient .... 356 

LIX. Beginning of the End 361 

LX. Warsaw Falls 366 


LXI. Diplomacy in the Balkans 369 


LXIl. Spirit of the Italian People — Crisis of the Government 379 

LXIII. The Decision Made — Italian Strategy 382 

LXIV. Strength of Italian Army and Navy ...... 388 

LXV. First Engagemi^nts 392 

LXVI. Fighting in the Mountains 402 

LXVII. Attacks in Gorizia 408 

LXVIII. Fighting in the Alps — Italian Successes .... 416 

LXIX. More Mountain Fighting — Results of First Campaign 419 


LXX. Beginning of Operations 423 

LXXI. Preparations for Landing — Composition of Forces . 429 

LXXII. Plans of Sir Ian Hamilton — First Landing Made . . 437 

LXXIII. The British in Danger — Bitter Fighting .... 446 

LXXIV. Further Efforts at Landing — Failure to Take Krithia 454 

LXXV. Krithia Again Attacked — Heroic Work of "Anzacs" . 459 

LXXVI. Russo-Turkish Operations .469 


LXXVII. The Cameroons 481 

LXXVIII. British Conquest op Southwest Africa 484 

LXXIX. Other African Operations 493 


LXXX. Mesopotamia and Arabia 497 

LXXXL Syria and Egypt 503 


Zeppelin Attacked by Aeroplanes Frontispiece 


Belgians Re-forming for a Fresh Attack 78 

Prayer in a French Church Used for a Hospital 158 

Great Liner Lusitania 222 

Grand Duke Nicholas 270 

Triumphal Entry of Austrians into Przemysl ...... 302 

Prince Leopold of Bavaria in Warsaw 366 

Cloud op Poisonous Gas Released by Italian Troops .... 414 

Stores at Suvla Bay, Gallipoli 462 



Strategic Railway System in Eastern Germany Which Made 

Quick Concentration Possible {Colored Map) . . . Front Insert 

Gallipoli 29 


German Possessions in Africa 65 

Western Battle Line, January 1, 1915 81 

Neuve Chapelle, Battle at ... 88 

Yfres, Gas Battle of 113 

Fighting in Alsace-Hartmannsweilerkopf 119 

Artois, Battles in 126 

German Submarine War Zone 172 

Emden Landing Party, Cruise of 195 

Carpathian Passes and Russian Battle Line 237 

PRZEMYSL, Detail Maps of the Forts of 248 

Galician Campaign from Tarnow to Przemysl 279 

Galician Campaign from Przemysl to Bessarabia 291 

Riga, German Advance on 338 

Warsaw, German Attempts to Reach, in 1914 358 

Warsaw, Advance and Capture of 367 

Coasts of Italy and Austria, Showing the Naval Raid in 

May, 1915 395 

A-ustria, Italian Attack on 410 

Dardanelles, Pictorial Map of, Showing Where the Allies 

Landed 439 

German Southwest Africa, Conquest of 491 

Mesopotamia — The British Operations from the Persian Gulf . 499 

Suez Canal, Turkish Attack on . . 506 




DISQUIETING as was the British offensive in Mesopotamia, 
the Turkish General Staff were not to be drawn by it from 
considerations of larger strategy. Acting in agreement with the 
German and Austrian General Staffs, plans were rapidly pushed 
for an aggressive offensive in the Caucasus, that old-time battling 
ground of the Russians and the Turks. Germany was being hotly 
pressed in France by the armies of Belgium, France, and Eng- 
land, and feared an offensive on the part of the Russian 

Across the great isthmus separating the Caspian and Black 
Seas run the Caucasus Mountains. Parallel to this range of 
towering mountains, the highest in Europe, runs the frontier 
line of Russia and Turkey and Russia and Persia, winding in 
and out among the Trans-Caucasian Mountains. About two 
hundred miles from the Russo-Turkish frontier stands Tifiis, the 
rich and ancient capital of Georgia, and one of the prime ob- 
jectives of any Turkish offensive. One of the few railroads of 
this wild country runs from Tifiis through the Russian fortress of 
Kars, forty-five miles from the Turkish frontier, to Sarikamish, 
thirty miles nearer. On the Turkish side the fortress of Erzerum 
stands opposed to Kars, but suffering in comparison by the lack 
of railroad communication with the interior of Turkey. 

Despite all these discouraging circumstances, however, the 
Turkish General Staff, dominated by the indefatigable and am- 
bitious Enver Pasha, was not to be deterred. A brilliant and 



daring plan of campaign, aiming at the annihilation or capture 
of the entire Russian Caucasian army, the seizure, of Kars and 
Tiflis, and the control of the immensely valuable and important 
Caspian oil fields, was prepared. The unwelcome task of carry- 
ing this plan to completion and success was intrusted to Hassan 
Izzet Pasha, under the general guidance of Enver Pasha and his 
staff of German advisers. 

The heroic efforts of the Turkish troops, their grim but hope- 
less battle against equally brave troops, appalling weather con- 
ditions, and insuperable obstacles, their failure and defeat when 
on the very verge of complete success, make an intensely inter- 
esting story. 

Stationed at Erzerum, Turkey had the Ninth, Tenth, and 
Eleventh Corps. In addition, the Thirty-seventh Arab division 
had been brought up from Bagdad to strengthen the Eleventh 
Corps. At Trebizond two divisions of the First Corps had been 
brought from Constantinople by sea. These forces totaled about 
140,000 troops. At and about Kars, General Woronzov, the Rus- 
sian commander, had between 100,000 and 110,000 troops at his 
disposal from first to last. But although weaker in numbers he 
had the inestimable advantage of operating with a line of rail- 
road at his back, whereas the Turkish commander had to depend 
entirely upon road transit, 500 miles from the nearest railroad. 

The conditions absolutely necessary for the success of the 
Turkish plan were the holding of the Russian force beyond 
Sarikamish, and the accurate timing of the flanking attacks, 
otherwise the Russian commander would be able to deal with 
each force separately and defeat and perhaps destroy them. 

The campaign opened on November 20, 1914. The Russians, 
advancing across the frontier from Sarikamish, took Koprikeui, 
within thirty miles of Erzerum. There, for some time, they re- 
mained while the Turkish command prepared for their great 

About the middle of December, 1914, the Eleventh Corps of the 
Turkish army moved out of Erzerum, engaged the Russians at 
Koprikeui, defeated them after a short, sharp struggle, and drove 
them in disorder a dozen miles to Khorasan. While the Eleventh 


Corps was thus engaged the Ninth and Tenth Corps, marching 
forty miles to the north in terrible weather, succeeded in cross'' 
ing the high mountains that guard the Russian frontier. On 
Christmas Day they looked down on the town of Sarikamish and 
the vital railway that stretched away to the eastward. At the 
same time the two divisions of the First Corps, stationed at Trebi- 
zond, making a wider sweep, had, by forced marches through 
a blinding blizzard that threatened to make necessary the aban- 
donment of the artillery, reached the vicinity of Ardahan. 

The Tenth Corps had reached and was threatening the railway 
east of Sarikamish on the road to Kars. Its defeat was absolutely 
necessary to the safety of the Russian army. It was therefore 
the object of General Woronzov's first attack. During four days 
every available man and gun he could bring up on the railway 
were thrown against the rapidly dwindling ranks of the Tenth 
Corps. The Turks fought bravely, but weight of numbers and 
superiority of communications told in the end, and the Ottoman 
forces were driven into the mountains to the north. 

The defeat and retreat of the Tenth Corps exposed the left 
flank of the Ninth, commanded by Iskan Pasha. General 
Woronzov took full advantage of the situation. Iskan and his 
40,000 troops were soon fighting a desperate battle against an 
enveloping movement that threatened to encompass them. 

Of the 40,000 troops of the Ninth Corps, a bare 6,000 struggled 
out of the mountains to the vicinity of Sarikamish, where they 
were rallied by Iskan Pasha. For six days and nights this heroic 
band made a determined attempt to capture the town held by a 
comparatively weak Russian garrison. Finally, when, sur- 
rounded by overwhelming Russian forces, it became apparent 
that no Turkish relief could reach him, Iskan Pasha and the 
remnant of his once proud corps surrendered. 

Sarikamish was defended against Iskan's 6,000 by a mere 
handful of soldiers. Time and time again urged by their German 
officers, the Turks hurled themselves against the thin Russian 
line. It bent but did not break, as step by step, fighting fiercely 
all the way, it retreated before weight of numbers. And when 
relief did come to the defenders, and Iskan and his force were 


compelled to surrender, the brave little Russian band was com- 
pletely exhausted. 

In their pursuit of the remnants of the Tenth Corps the Rus- 
sians met with some of the difficulties that had been the undoing 
of the Turks. Furthermore, although the Ninth Corps had been 
hemmed in so that no relief could reach it, the Turkish command 
had by no means lost the power of effective counteraction. The 
Eleventh Corps at Khorasan carried on an energetic campaign 
against the Russian front, gained a local and tactically important 
success, and drove the enemy back as far as Kara-Urgan, less 
than twenty miles from Sarikamish. Indeed, so serious became 
the threat to the Russian forces that General Woronzov, much 
against his wishes, was compelled to call off the pursuit of the 
Tenth Corps and strengthen the Sarikamish front with the, 
troops that had been operating farther to the east. 

In the second week of January, 1915, between these forces and 
the Eleventh Corps of the Turkish army a fierce battle, lasting 
several days, opened. The struggle was of the utmost intensity, 
at times developing into a hand-to-hand combat between whole 
regiments. On January 14 the Fifty-second Turkish Regi- 
ment was put to the bayonet by the Russians. At Genikoi a 
regiment of Cossacks charged, during an engagement with a 
portion of the Thirty-second Turkish Division, and killed and 
wounded more than 300. 

It must be remembered in judging the terrible nature of the 
struggle that the armies were fighting in difficult country. The 
battle of Kara-Urgan, furthermore, was waged in a continual 
snowstorm. Thousands of dead and wounded were buried in 
the rapidly falling snow and no effort was made to recover them. 
By the end of this week, January 16, 1915, owing largely to their 
superior railway communications and the possibility of reen- 
forcements, the Russians had not only checked the Turkish offen- 
sive, but had decisively defeated the Eleventh Corps. Pressing 
their advantage the Russians pursued the beaten Turks towarc^ 
Erzerum, but the heavy snows prevented them gaining the fuL 
fruits of their victory. 

If the Eleventh Corps had not won a victory it had, however, 


accomplished its object in that it had relieved the pressure on 
the Tenth and enabled it to make good its escape to the north, 
where it proceeded to effect a junction with the First Corps. 
The experience of this First Corps had not been a happy one. 
We left it on Christmas Day, 1914, overlooking Ardahan. A 
week later it entered the city and prepared to carry out its role 
in the general offensive by advancing upon the Russian right 
flank at Kars. It met serious opposition, however, when it 
attempted to move out of Ardahan, was itself compelled to 
retreat, and finally sought safety beyond the ridges to the west. 
There, in the valley of the Chorfik, it joined up with the Tenth 
Corps. Together they continued their retreat upon Trebizond. 
Subsequently they tried a new offensive in the Choruk valley 
which was undecisive, however, and at the end of January, 1914, 
the situation had developed into a deadlock. 

The Turkish troops in their operation in the Caucasus ap- 
peared to have suffered from the difficulty of keeping open their 
sea communications with Constantinople. Lacking railways 
they relied too much upon supplies arriving at Trebizond. The 
Russian fleet in the Black Sea was active, however, and 
upset the Turkish calculations. In the first week of January, 
1915, at Sinope a Russian cruiser discovered the Turkish 
cruiser Medjidieh convoying a transport. After a short en- 
gagement the Medjidieh was put to flight, and the trans- 
port sunk. 

On January 6, 1915, the Russian Black Sea fleet ran into the 
Breslau and the Hamidieh and damaged them both in a running 
fight. A week later Russian torpedo boats sank several Turkisl^ 
supply boats near Sinope. 

While this fighting was taking place in the north, farthef 
to the south toward the Persian frontier the Russians were 
attempting a turning movement against the Turkish right flank. 
At the same time that the Russian force in the north crossed 
the Turkish frontier the Russian column entered Turkey fifty 
miles farther southeast. On November 8, 1914, this force en- 
tered the Turkish town of Kara Kilissa. A week later, making 
its way southwest for a distance of twenty miles, it engaged. 


near the village of Dutukht, a Turkish force composed largely 
of Arab troops of the Thirteenth Corps. At the outset the 
Russians met with a measure of success, but on November 22, 
1914, the Turks, having been reenforced by troops from Bagdad, 
began a fierce offensive. After indecisive fighting in the Alash- 
gird valley the Turks, about the middle of December, 1914, 
almost caught the Russians in a bold enveloping movement 
north of Dutukht. In order to escape the Russians were com- 
pelled to retreat hurriedly and thus ended their offensive opera- 
tion in this section. 

Still farther to the south, in Persia, the Turks and Russians 
also battled. Not only because of political conditions, but be- 
cause of the nature of the country, it was easier for Russia 
and Turkey to attack each other through Persia than directly 
across other frontiers, just as it was easier for Germany and 
France to reach each other across Belgium. At the outbreak of 
war both Turkey and Russia, recognizing these circumstances, 
were occupants of Persian territory. Early in November two 
Russian columns marched across the northwest corner of Persia 
and into Turkey by the Kotur and Khanesur passes, evidently 
with the important city of Van, on the lake of that name, as 
an objective. At a point near Dilman, and again at Serai, they 
drove the Turkish troops back toward Van, but were checked 
by reenforcements. 

Meanwhile the Turks had a more considerable success to the 
south. Apparently taking the Russian higher command com- 
pletely by surprise, Turkish troops advanced almost unopposed 
to Tabriz, the most important of the cities of northern Persia. 
Alarmed by this, Russia sent a strong force which, on January 
30, 1915, succeeded in recapturing the city. 

Thus, up to the end of January, 1915, nothing decisive had 
been accomplished on the Caucasian front by either Turkey 
or Russia. The Battle of Sarikamish, resulting in a Turkish 
loss estimated by the Russian authorities at 50,000, while decisive 
enough locally, seems to have had no appreciable effect upon the 
situation as a whole. For reasons resting very largely in the 
difficulty of finding the troops necessary, as weil as in the con- 

1— War St. 3 


ditions of the country and the weather, the Russians had been 
unable to follow up their success. Indeed, the offensive appears 
to have continued in the hands of the Turks. 

It is probably the case that Russia was unwilling to detach 
any considerable number of troops from her Polish and Galician 
front, where important events were brewing. Her General 
Staff rightly regarded the Caucasian front as of secondary im- 
portance — and like Austria on her Italian frontier, determined 
to fight a defensive campaign. 

However that may be, conditions after the first few months of 
campaigning settled down into a stalemate. Engagements op 
a relatively small scale were reported from time to time, but 
the balance of advantage remained fairly even. Both countries 
had fronts where victories would bring larger returns and 
more immediate effect upon the ultimate outcome of the war. 



rjlO the Turk no operation of the war appeared more important 
-■-than did the campaign against Egypt. That in the early 
days of the struggle in 1914 he contented himself with what 
amounted to little more than a demonstration designed to hold as 
many British troops in Egypt as possible was due primarily to 
considerations of larger strategy. Undoubtedly, by his incursion 
into the Sinai Peninsula and his half-hearted attempt with a 
hopelessly small force to cross the Suez Canal, he learned many 
lessons invaluable in any future and more ambitious campaign. 
Considered as a diversion the early advance upon the Suez was a 
success : as a serious military operation, resting on its own legs, 
it was a fiasco. 

No operation the Turks might have conducted could have been 
so unwelcome to the British as was that against Egypt. For 
weeks in advance it was discussed by English writers and, while 

2_War St. 3 


they all, naturally, agreed that it was foredoomed to failure, there 
was an undercurrent of apprehension in official circles. It was 
realized that many untried problems and theories would be put 
to a severe test by such a campaign, if undertaken in a serious 
way by a large and well-equipped force. Of a purely Turkish 
force, commanded and organized by Turkish officers, there was 
no fear, but such wonderful organizers had the Germans proved 
themselves to be that the combination of Teuton brains and 
Turkish fighting qualities and endurance was regarded as 

It was realized in England also that any measure of success 
that might come to an invading force would have two very 
serious results. It would not only threaten, and perhaps sever, 
the shortest route to the east and so seriously embarrass the 
trade, military and naval efficiency of the Allies, but it would 
have a grave and perhaps decisive effect upon Mohammedan 
malcontents in Egypt and India. 

The exact truth of the conditions in India and Egypt will 
possibly never be known, so rigorous were the operations of 
the censorship set up by the British War Office. One thing is 
certain, however: in both countries political conditions were 
serious before the war and they could not, by any stretch of 
optimism, be conceived as improving with the coming of a great 
struggle aimed at the only remaining independent Mohammedan 

For many months previous to August, 1914, the Indian office 
in London had been apprehensive of rebellion in India. In 
Egypt the circumstance that at the beginning of the war the 
British authorities announced that they would make no use of 
the native Egyptian army speaks for itself. It was believed in 
Constantinople and in Berlin that both Egypt and India were 
ripe for a terrible revolt against the rule of the British Raj : the 
uprisings of millions of fanatical natives that would forever 
sweep British control from these two key places to the trade of 
the world and would institute a Turkish suzerainty, backed and 
controlled by Berlin. This was thought all the more likely as 
thousands of the British regular troops had been withdrawn 


from India and Egypt for service in France, being replaced by 
raw levies from England and the Colonies. 

These, then, were the major considerations that prompted the 
early offensive against Egypt. It was based upon sound political 
and military strategy. Just how near it came to complete suc- 
cess, just how much additional worry and effort it added to the 
burden of Great Britain and France, only a complete revelation 
of the progress of events in all fields will tell. 

In the attack upon the canal the Turks operated primarily 
from their base at Damascus. As preparations progressed the 
troops that were to take part in the actual advance were con- 
centrated between Jerusalem and Akabah. Under command of 
Djemel Pasha, Turkish Minister of Marine, there were gathered 
some 50,000 troops consisting mostly of first line troops of the 
best quality, reenforced by about 10,000 more or less irregular 
Arab Bedouins, 

During November and early December, 1914, the force was 
moved forward by slow and methodical stages, until by Decem- 
ber 15 it was awaiting orders to advance, encamped on the con- 
fines of the great desert that separated it from its objective. 

Here it is well that the reader should have a good idea of the 
difficulties of the task the Turkish higher command had imposed 
upon Djemel Pasha and his troops. 

The two chief difficulties to be met by the invaders of the 
Sinai were lack of transport facilities and lack of water. Three 
routes were possible for the Turkish army, all artificial obstacles 
being for the moment ignored; two by land, across the Sinai 
desert, and the third by sea, across the Mediterranean. The 
latter, however, must be ruled out because the seas were con- 
trolled by the Anglo-French fleet. For the same reason, the 
northern land route had many disadvantages, because it could 
be commanded for a part of its length by warships. However, 
it is instructive to examine it in detail. 

The whole region crossed by the sea road is desert of the 
most difficult and forbidding character. By this road all the 
great invasions — ^the Roman, Egyptian, Assyrian, Greek, and 
French — ^have been made. The road enters the desert at Efl 


Arish and from there to El Kantara on the Suez Canal, the 
probable point of attack of an army moving by this route, is 
100 miles. Over this whole distance there are only three 
places, once an army has left El Arish, where water can be 
had. The first is a matter of a day's march, at El Maza, thirty 
mileis^away; the second is at Bir-El-Abd, another day's march; 
and the third at Katieh, within striking distance of the canal. 
Without the construction of a special railway the transport of 
Sifoike large enough to efficiently control the canal by this route 
seems to be out of the question. 

The southern route, known as the Hadj, or Pilgrim's Road, 
running from Akaba to Suez, besides being longer is even worse 
off in the matter of water. This was the traditional path of 
pilgrims traveling from Egypt to Mecca, and still is much in 
use for that purpose. 

Something like 150 miles separate Akaba and Suez, yet only 
two watering places are to be found in the whole distance. The 
first is three days' march from the former place, at a point called 
Nakhl, where modem cisterns had been built and an adequate 
supply of water for a large force probably was obtainable. The 
next watering place is another three days' march, at Ayun 
Mousa, or Well of Moses, within a short distance of the canal. 

But tremendous as were the problems facing a considerable 
body of men in attempting to cross the Sinai desert and arrive at 
the Suez Canal in condition to fight a strong, fresh and fully 
prepared foe, they were not to be compared to the difficulties that 
would face such an army when the canal had been reached. We 
have seen how great an obstacle a wide river, such as the Vistula, 
proved to be to an army when attempting to cross in the face of 
a prepared enemy. In the case of the Suez Canal, although 
there were no strong currents, a force attempting to cross it had 
to contend with two added difficulties: The Suez Canal could 
not, in the circumstances be turned, as was the Vistula by the 
Germans. Furthermore its defensive value was immeasurably 
increased by the circumstance that it could and did carry war- 
ships of the largest type which not only had the value of 
fortresses mounting the heaviest of guns, but were mobile as 


well. And finally, because of the nature of the shores of the 
canal, it was possible for an attacking force to cross it at but 
few points. 

The question of crossing the canal or dominating it in any 
sense was for the Turks largely a question of bringing to bear 
a superior force of artillery — a task that had only to be stated 
to reveal its difficulties. No force with smaller or fewer guns 
would hope to cross the Suez in the face of the concentration of 
artillery and naval gunfire that the British could bring to bear 
at any threatened point. 

The defenders on the western side of the canal had the 
additional advantage of railway communication running along 
the entire canal from Suez to Port Said, and connecting with 
interior bases. 

There were five points from which, once having conquered 
the desert and reached the canal, the invaders could advan- 
tageously launch an attack or attacks upon the canal defenses. 
The first is just south of El Kantara, where the old sea road 
crosses the Suez. Just south of Ismailia a group of heights on 
the east bank provides a second opportunity. The third is found 
at the point called the Plateau of Hyena. The fourth is just 
north of the Bitter Lake, and the fifth is to the south of the 
same body of water. 

Late in December, 1914, Djemel Pasha began active prepara- 
tions for an advance upon the canal. This campaign the Turks 
later called a reconnaissance in force and as, of their total 
strength of 50,000 men, only 12,000 at the outside and possibly 
less were used, the limited term seems justified. Although the 
southern route was used by the main force, a small force eluded 
the watchfulness of the Anglo-French naval patrol operating 
along the shore commanding the first day's march of the northern, 
or sea road, and ultimately struck at El Kantara. Furthermore, 
sometime before one of these two forces — ^the larger, or southern 
— reached the vicinity of the canal, it split and conducted an 
independent attack at Suez. 

There had been much speculation among military writers all 
over the world as to the possibility or probability of the construe- 


tion by the Turks of a light railway running a part of the dis- 
tance across the Sinai Desert and linking up with the line to 
Mecca. It was realized that such a railway would be an enormous 
help to Djemel Pasha and his army, especially in the transport 
of supplies, ammunitions, and artillery. Indeed, it was held that 
only by the construction of such a railway, extending almost to 
the canal, could the absolutely essential artillery be brought 
into action. There was serious doubt of the ability of the Turks 
to build such a line. The strength of the German "stiffening" 
in the army based upon Damascus was believed to be slight. 
Djemel Pasha is said to have seriously opposed any great num- 
ber of Teuton officers, especially in the higher commands. Thus 
the assistance the Turks could expect from the Germans in the 
organization and construction of such a railway would be small. 
Whether or not the scheme was feasible at that time it is im- 
possible to say. At any rate the Turks, for reasons best known 
to themselves, did not put it to a test. 

The British force in Egypt was well supplied with aeroplanes 
and kept the Turkish army under constant observation. With 
the exception of the use of the first section of the road, covering 
a couple of days of time, there was probably no element of 
surprise in the Turkish attack upon the canal. Realizing the 
limited possibilities of attack from the east shore, the British, 
taking their lesson from experience in France, had constructed 
an elaborate system of trenches to the east of the canal at the 
five points where attacks would possess some likelihood of suc- 
cessful conclusion. 

It was the end of January, 1915, before the Turkish army, 
marching in easy stages across the desert reached the vicinity 
of the canal. Their German mentors had constructed for them 
elaborate carriages with the wheels of enormous width to carry 
the artillery and the heavy supplies across the soft sands. Also, 
in preparation of a crossing of the canal, the Turks brought a 
supply of ready-assembled pontoon bridges, running on wheels 
and similar to those used by the German army in Europe, except 
that they were much lighter. 

In the transport of all this material the Turks were dependent 


upon camels, suited as are no other animals for work in the desert. 
In thousands, they had been collected at Hadj, the cooperation 
of the Arab Bedouins being specially valuable in this work. 
The consideration of these events in the campaign which begins 
in February, 1915, will be found in Volume III of this work. 



ONE of the most interesting of the various phases of the war, 
so far as the participation of Turkey was concerned, was the 
religious development. Countless pages of learned speculation 
had been written for years before the struggle in an attempt to 
forecast the outcome of exactly the conditions that had arisen. It 
must be said at once that in the first six months of the war reality 
failed to live up to prophecy. The cataclysm that was expected by 
many to involve the revolt of millions and a vast change in the 
political color of much of the earth's surface did not appear. 
Any change that took place operated so quietly and on so com- 
paratively small a scale that it was lost to view beside the greater 
interest of the struggle on the battle fields of France and Poland. 

It is desirable, however, that the situation be examined. Abbas 
II, Khedive of Egypt, had early in the war openly shown his lack 
of sympathy with the British in Egypt. By his actions he left 
no doubt regarding his attitude. He not only vehemently ex- 
pressed his adherence to Constantinople but left Cairo, and 
journeyed to Turkey, safe from British official pressure or per- 
suasion. Whereupon the British Government called upon him to 
return, threatened him with deposition, and finally took that ex- 
treme step, setting up another in his place on December 18, 1914. 

Furthermore, the day before, Great Britain declared Egypt 
a British protectorate independent of Constantinople. In this 
action Great Britain relied not upon any legal right to take such 
action, but merely upon the right of actual possession. Since 


Great Britain had taken over the government of Egypt in 1883, 
she had acknowledged the sultan's rights of suzerainty and had 
countenanced the payment to that ruler of certain considerable 
yearly sums from the Egyptian exchequer. 

Indeed, Great Britain was in Egypt merely by virtue of an in- 
ternational understanding and on a definite agreement to release 
her control of the country when certain conditions of political 
and financial stability had been restored. The other nations had, 
willingly, or unwillingly, become resigned to her possession of 
this strategically important land. Great Britain a decade before 
the war, at the beginning of that rapprochement with France 
which led up to the Entente and which had so many fateful con- 
sequences for the whole world, sought to legalize her position in 
Egypt — at least so far as the other great north African power 
was concerned. A bargain was struck with France by which the 
English occupation of Egypt for an indefinite period was recog- 
nized in exchange for a free hand in Morocco. Great Britain 
could now urge that the coming of war, and especially the entry 
of Turkey into the struggle, placed her administration in Egypt 
in a position impossible to maintain. In theory she was, so long 
as she acknowledged the suzerainty of the sultan, in the country 
merely on that ruler's sufferance. She admitted his ultimate 
authority and especially the loyalty and duty of the Egyptian 
army and khedive to him. Strictly she could make no move to 
prevent an armed occupation of the country by the sultan's 
troops nor could she call upon the khedive and his cabinet to 
repudiate Constantinople's sway. To put an end to this condition 
of affairs was the most legitimate reason for England's action. 

Although the native Egyptian is in religion allied to the 
Turk, his religious fervor was not great enough to induce him to 
rise against British control. Among the better educated of the 
Egyptians and especially among those who had traveled, there 
was a strong '^Nationalist" movement. At times, even in the 
period of peace, this movement had threatened to make matters 
extremely unpleasant for the British rulers. For some years 
before the war, German and Turkish agents had been working 
among these ardent Egyptian patriots, encouraging and ad- 


vising them, and when war with Turkey came England was seri- 
ously alarmed. Using the country as a central base for her 
Turkish, Persian, and Balkan operations, Great Britain imported 
thousands upon thousands of troops into Egypt. Just how many 
hundreds of thousands of armed men passed in and out of the 
country from first to last only the records of the British war 
office would show, but it can be said that England never had a 
force of less than 90,000 trained men in Egypt at any one time. 

Any chance of effective action that the Egyptian nationalists 
might have had was neutralized by the indifference and lack of 
interest in the vast body of their countrymen. There were more 
than 10,000,000 Mohammedans in Egypt, but only a small minor- 
ity of them, under the most promising of circumstances, could 
have been counted upon to pay the least heed to the call of Con- 
stantinople. The Egyptian fellah is anything but a fighter. 
Lazy, unlearned, unambitious, he is content to accept his daily 
lot, perhaps conscious that the British rule has brought a certain 
amount of comparative prosperity even to him. 

On the other hand, there were in Egypt something like 600,- 
000 nomads, a very large proportion of whom could be depended 
upon to follow the lead of Constantinople. The males of these 
wild tribespeople were remarkable fighters, subject to no con- 
trol, hating the English sway, and so independent of roads and 
transport that they could keep busy an even larger force of less 
mobile troops. Their chief weakness was their lack of cohesion 
and the impossibility of any concerted action on their part. 

This, then, was the native situation in Egypt. In other parts of 
the world, where Great Britain maintained sway over large 
numbers of Mohammedans, the situation was equally complicated. 
With the issue of a call for a Holy War by the Sheik-ul-Islam, the 
religious ruler of the Mohammedan world, many well-informed 
observers looked for a large measure of trouble in India. So 
many were the elements of dissatisfaction, and even open re- 
volt, in India that it was believed the Sheik-ul-Islam's call would 
be the match applied to the powder magazine. 

The attitude of the various Indian potentates was uncertain. 
Some of them were known to be only outwardly loyal to the Brit- 


ish authority. The now famous incident at the visit of King 
George to India, some years before the war, when one of the 
richest and most important of the native princes refused to bend 
the knee, was indicative of very widespread dissatisfaction. In- 
numerable cases of individual and even concerted violence against 
British rule immediately preceded the war, and several of these 
were openly encouraged by native princes. 

So far as definite action was concerned, the opening of the war 
with Turkey and the months that immediately followed falsified 
all these predictions of disaster to British rule in India. Many 
of the native princes were effusive in their professions of loyalty 
to the British Empire, and several offered personal service at the 
front or financial contributions to the huge cost of the struggle. 

Notable, and perhaps decisive, was the open adherence to 
Britain of the Agar Khan, the immensely powerful ruler of mil- 
lions of Indian Mohammedans. The Agar Khan had spent many 
of the years previous to the war in England in daily association 
with English high society and official circles. At the outbreak 
of the war with Turkey, in October, 1914, at the request of the 
British Government, he visited Egypt, and it was largely upon 
his advice that the former khedive was deposed and the new 
one elevated to the post. Indeed, at one time there were strong 
rumors, afterward energetically denied by the British Govern- 
ment, that the Agar Khan had advised a Mohammedan repudia- 
tion of the authority of the caliph and the elevation of another 
to his place under a British guarantee. In support of this plan 
it was pointed out that Great Britain, judged by the number of 
adherents under her rule, was the world's greatest Mohammedan 
power. It was intolerable to many English people, especially to 
those of strong imperialistic tendencies, that the real control, 
even in theory, of so large and important a section of the people 
of the British Empire should be in Constantinople, safe from the 
"influence" and "persuasion" of the British Government. By 
these people it was held that the sultan's lineal claim was weak, 
and that an even better claim to the headship of the Moslems 
could be established for any one of several other men who might 
have been named. However, the plan was never achieved. 




WHAT was the situation as a whole, so far as Turkey and her 
military actions against the Allies were^oncemed, as to the 
outcome of these various operations in three fields — the Caucasus, 
Mesopotamia, and Egypt — during the first six months of the war? 
The military narrative is recorded in the chapter following. It 
will be seen that all of them were inconclusive. Indeed, from 
what we knew of the circumstances surrounding them, all we are 
justified in saying is that none of them was serious in the sense 
that they were not intended to have any decisive effect, directly, 
upon the progress of the war. Of them all it might be urged 
by a military authority that they were subsidiary operations, 
dangerous and wasteful in that they withdrew valuable men, 
munitions, brains, and energy from the decisive fronts. Their 
only justification is that they imposed similar action on the part 
of both armies, and so, in just that degree, scattered their forces. 
For the Turk it can be urged that at least two of the cam- 
paigns were forced upon him by his German mentors, whil^ 
the third was imposed upon him by a British offensive. 
Furthermore, the Turk was entirely cut off from his Austro- 
German allies, and there was no possibility of his bringing his 
weight to bear in one of the main fields. From that point of 
view it is possible to justify the Turkish offensives as sound 

Aside from a desire to protect the oil supply in Persia, it is 
hardly as easy to justify the British offensive in Mesopotamia. 
As events subsequently demonstrated, it was possible for the 
Turks to throw an overwhelming number of troops into Bagdad 
and to the south, and, furthermore, they were fighting under 
vastly more advantageous conditions than were the invaders. 
Only on the assumption that the Turks were hopelessly demora- 
lized and disorganized, and that as fighting men they would belie 


all their past history, was it possible to visualize success for the 
British operations in Mesopotamia. 

Turkey had definitely come to grips with England and with 
Russia. She had in none of these fields measured swords with 
France, although she was equally at war with that country. Thei 
exact apportionment of the actual work to be done by the indi- 
vidual powers of the Entente seems to have led to considerable 
disagreement, and resulted at times in serious delay. Such ar- 
rangements depend, of course, upon each country's idea of its 
spheres of influence. Obviously, no country, if it can help it, 
is going to waste its men or its efforts in a field in which it has 
only a minor political or commercial interest. So far as France 
was concerned, the Caucasus, Egypt — aside from the possibility 
of the closing of the canal — and Mesopotamia were not of enough 
importance to justify her in participating in the struggle with 
the Turks even were it physically possible. All these remarks, 
of course, are subject to modifications imposed by considerations 
of the larger strategy of the Entente Powers; but for many 
months of the war the agreement of the Entente Powers in the 
matter of general strategy was conspicuous by its absence. 

With her neighbors in the Balkans Turkey had maintained 
remarkably good relations considering the bitterness engendered, 
not only by centuries of strife, but by the recent events of the 
two Balkan wars. Bulgaria, smarting under the loss of territory 
through the attack upon her by Serbia, Greece, and Rumania 
in the Second Balkan War, was openly conducting friendly nego- 
tiations with Turkey for the acquisition of valuable territory — 
a compact that could mean only one thing. Greece, frightened by 
the menace of the German power, had resisted up to the moment 
all the blandishments of the Entente Powers, who urged her to 
active participation in the struggle. Rumania, largely isolated 
from the Entente Powers, menaced on the north by Austro- 
German forces, on the south by a revengeful Bulgaria, borrowed 
heavily from Britain, the universal money bag, but straddled 
the fence. 

Thus Turkey, which in different circumstances might have been 
in a precarious military situation, felt reasonably secure, despite 


her isolation. In the early part of the war, however, events 
moved rapidly and not exactly to her liking. For they threat- 
ened to sweep the whole Balkans into the whirl of war, and no 
man could tell exactly how the various petty states, under the 
stress of sympathy, military and naval considerations and dy- 
nastic control, would align themselves. With these events came, 
too, the first participation of France in the war against Turkey 
in the campaign in the Dardanelles, now to be described. 



THE beginning of the bombardments in the Dardanelles opens 
a remarkable chapter in military and naval warfare. The 
desperate campaign to batter down the fortifications which lead 
to Constantinople and the disastrous attempt to conquer the most 
strongly barricaded city in the world, probably excited more 
world-wide interest or put to the test more theories of warfare 
than did the Dardanelles campaign undertaken by Great Britain 
with the assistance of France. It was fiercely attacked by military 
critics almost from the start. It was, however, a boldly conceived 
operation, calculated to have a most important effect upon the 
war as a whole — certainly upon the war in the southeast corner 
of Europe. 

The Dardanelles campaign was largely conceived and con- 
trolled by the Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer Churchill, the re- 
markable and able British Secretary of the Admiralty. He hag 
been widely condemned for his share of the operation, but rev- 
elations that have been made would appear to clear him of a 
great measure of the blame. 

What were the considerations that weighed with the British 
admiralty in deciding to undertake one of the most difficult 
operations in the whole world? Primarily it seems to have had 


the idea of relieving the pressure on Russia. The Turkish offen- 
sive in the Caucasus had come to grief about the end of Decem- 
ber but a resumption was momentarily expected and feared. 
Hindenburg's victory at Tannenberg in East Prussia had been a 
terrible blow to Russia and she had no troops to spare for de- 
fense in the Caucasus. 

Furthermore, Constantinople, besides being one of the objectives 
of the war, was Russia's only warm sea gate into Europe. It must 
have been apparent to the Russian military authorities that the 
existing supplies of munition and guns of the czar's army would 
not suffice to withstand a hard German- Austrian drive. In other 
words the condition that resulted in the defeat of the Russian 
army in Galicia and Poland in the summer of 1915 were foreseen. 
Russia called upon England and France to force the Dardanelles. 
One can find it easy to condemn the operation but few can be 
found who will deny that it was a glorious failure. One that added 
luster to the glory of the British army, navy, and many un- 
matched pages to the story of their bravery. And no less credit 
and glory did it bring to the Turkish armies. 

In addition to the question of war supplies there were other 
reasons for opening the Dardanelles as soon as possible. Russia's 
ability to finance a war of the magnitude of the one there being 
fought, especially where large foreign purchases were made, de- 
pended very largely upon the maintenance of foreign commerce. 
Russia was buying from all the neutral world as well as from her 
Entente partners. England, for instance, was not only making 
for her millions of dollars' worth of war supplies, but she was, for 
the moment, financing many of Russia's purchases abroad. 

In return for all this it was important that Russia should ex- 
port as freely as possible. Now one of her most valuable com- 
modities and one in high demand not only in England, but in 
other countries, was wheat. Millions upon millions of bushels of 
Russian wheat were stored in her great Black Sea ports waiting 
to be shipped through Constantinople when the Bosphorus and 
the Dardanelles were commanded by Entente guns and ships. 
Greece, under the leadership of Premier Venizelos was hesitating 
on the brink of a plunge into the struggle as an ally of the En- 





tente and not only agreed to the use of Greek islands but actu- 
ally considered a proposal to send a Greek force of not less than 
20,000 and possibly as many as 40,000 over to the Dardanelles. 
Bulgaria was in that state where a striking victory in the Turk- 
ish peninsula would have swept her off her feet. Italy was at 
loggerheads with Austria, her ally, and about to break. 

Then from the English point of view there was the possible 
effect upon the Mohammedan throughout the British Empire. 
Possibly not for many years, if ever, will the world know the 
trutlji of the conditions in India during the war. One thing is 
certain. In one way and another there was much disaffection, 
much open rebellion and much fear of an even wider spread of 
revolt. The need for the maintenance and even strengthening of 
British prestige must have been constantly before the British 
ruler and no other campaign could possibly serve this end so effi- 
cacious as a successful assault upon Constantinople and the 
temporal power of the sultan. It would clinch probably for gen- 
erations to come Britain's claim to be the great Mohammedan 
power of the world and would destroy the one condition that for 
years before and at that time especially had contained the seeds 
of rebellion against the British yoke. 

In beginning the campaign which Great Britain and France 
carried on in the Dardanelles there reappeared a very old problem 
of war — ^the question of Warships versus Forts or land fortifica- 
tions. It appears to have been the consensus of opinion among all 
except the more extreme exponents of battleships that land forti- 
fications would possess an undoubted advantage in a contest 
against purely naval forces. 

This it seems had been the opinion of the American naval 
authorities in the Spanish-American War, when the American 
commander. Admiral Sampson, was expressly warned not to risk 
his ships against the shore defenses of Santiago Harbor. It also 
appears to have been the opinion of many British admirals who 
have placed their views on record. Indeed, there was in existence 
the views of several competent naval authorities as to the possi- 
bilities of a purely naval attack upon this very system of defenses. 

It was not by any means the first time that an attempt had 


been made to force the Dardanelles. Many such attempts had 
proved this narrow neck of water running between high banks 
to be one of the great natural defensive spots of the world. The 
realization of that obvious and oft-proved fact had made Con- 
stantinople through the ages one of the most fought for and 
schemed for cities of the whole world. 

It is necessary to study these attempts in order to understand 
clearly the difficulties which faced the British and French Allies 
in 1914. Of. the previous attacks that had been made to force a 
way through the Dardanelles and so up to the city of Constanti- 
nople, that of the famous Admiral Hornby in 1877 was one of 
the most interesting as well as one of the most instructive. 
Ordered by the British Government to take his fleet past the 
forts that lined the approaching banks, he proceeded to carry out 
his orders, but wrote a warning in which he pointed out that, 
while it might be possible for his fleet to make its way into the 
Sea of Marmora, once there it would be helpless if the land de- 
fenses were controlled by the enemy. Out of coal, ammunition, 
and food, the ships would be at the mercy of the Turks. "Al- 
though the forts might not prevent a strong fleet passing through 
the Dardanelles, they certainly," wrote Admiral Hornby, "could 
sink armed and unarmed transports and supply ships." In view 
of these considerations, Hornby urged the British Government 
to provide a land force of sufficient strength to carry and hold 
the land defenses. His superiors, however, did not agree with 
him, for they told him to go ahead with a purely naval operation. 
His ideas were never put to a real test because the Turks offered 
no resistance to his passage of the straits. 

The situation in the Great War of 1914 presented Constanti- 
nople as the same perplexing military problem. If we go back 
another three-quarters of a century to 1807, the experience of Ad- 
miral Duckworth throws some light on the subject, although con- 
ditions had changed radically. Duckworth, with his sailing ships, 
ran past the forts in the Dardanelles and anchored in front of 
Constantinople. It was hoped that a threat of bombardment 
would bring the Turks to their knees, but the latter refused to be 

intimidated. In the end, the British admiral ran out of food and 

3— War St. 3 


water and was compelled to leave without accomplishing any- 

The student of the War of 1914 also must consider that dur- 
ing the war between Italy and Turkey, the Italian General Staff 
is known to have worked out an elaborate plan for an attack upon 
the Dardanelles. However, at the critical moment, the European 
powers interfered and forced upon Italy an agreement that the 
war should not be extended to the mainland of Europe. In the 
Balkan War, the Bulgarians threatened the lines of Bulair, the 
narrow neck which connects the Gallipoli peninsula to the main- 
land, but never launched the attack. 

When in 1914 the British and French determined to press a 
purely naval attack upon the Dardanelles, they appear to have 
been influenced by two major considerations. At the time there 
was not ready a sufficient number of troops to make a land cam- 
paign successful and, at the last moment, King Constantine of 
Greece repudiated a personal agreement made by Venizelos, the 
Greek Premier, with the Allies by which Greece was to pro- 
vide at least 20,000 troops to assist the France-British fleet. 
Even after the fall of Venizelos it was still determined to push 
the naval attack because of the second consideration. In the 
opinion of the British admiralty the full power of modern naval 
guns of 11- and 12-inch had never been tested and in their opin- 
ion they would suffice to reduce the Dardanelles defenses in a 
comparatively short time. Furthermore, the British authorities 
appear to have relied largely upon the new 15-inch guns of the 
Queen Elizabeth and her sister vessels, then nearing completion 
in British yards. So tremendous was the power of these new 
guns and so great their range that it was believed the Queen 
Elizabeth and her sister ships could stand miles out of range of 
the heaviest of the Dardanelles guns and quickly smash them to 
an unrecognizable mass of ruins. 

It was evident that the British naval command held these 
views even in spite of the experience of British warships off the 
coast of Belgium earlier in the war. For a while in 1914 British 
monitors and battleships bombarded almost at will the German 
troops posted along the coast running from the Dutch frontier 


line almost to Nieuport. Finally, however, the Germans brought 
up heavy army and naval guns and, mounting them in concealed 
spots among the sand dunes, soon drove off the British naval 

But Turkish guns were not German guns, Turkish gunners 
were not German gunners, and above all, the munition supply of 
the Turkish army was not fed by factories able to turn out a 
quarter of a million shells a day. Some such considerations as 
these appear to have convinced the British higher command that 
there was a difference in the two tasks. 

The command of the Dardanelles forts at the entrance to Con- 
stantinople and the Black Sea is similar, except that it is per- 
haps more sure as to the command of the entrance to the Baltic by 
Copenhagen, the Mediterranean by Gibraltar, and, in a lesser 
degree, of the North Sea by Dover. 

The narrow passage of water called the Dardanelles separates 
the peninsula of Gallipoli and the Asiatic shore of Turkey. It 
connects the ^gean Sea and the Sea of Marmora, which in turn, 
through the Bosphorus, connects with the Black Sea. Curiously 
enough this tremendously important waterway, the only warm 
sea outlet of Russia, had been closed against that country by the 
action of the very powers now fighting desperately to smash it 
open. The Black Sea was a Turkish lake in the seventeenth cen- 
tury but in the century following the growth of Russia in that 
part of Europe made the question of the control of the Bosphorus 
and the Dardanelles one of supreme importance to her. Thus we 
find, in the so-called "will" of Peter the Great, among other in- 
junctions he lays upon his successors, an admonition never to 
rest until Constantinople had been wrested from the Turk. But 
whether this "will" is authentic or not, Russian policy has stead- 
ily kept that object in view. 

The Crimean War was an attempt by France and England to 
stem the almost resistless tide of Russian expanse toward the 
southwest. Russian control of Constantinople was regarded as 
the chief danger that threatened the western powers and, in 1856, 
by the Treaty of Paris, not only was the strength of the Russian 
Black Sea fleet expressly limited, but the Dardanelles were closed 


against the passage of Russia's warships into the Mediterranean. 
France and England revived what they called "an ancient rule of 
the Ottoman Empire, in virtue of which it has at all times been 
prohibited for ships of war of foreign powers to enter the Straits 
of the Dardanelles and of the Bosphorus." 

Turkey was of no mind to leave the enforcement of this "an- 
cient rule" to the powers. She began the construction of more 
elaborate fortifications commanding both the Bosphorus and the 
Dardanelles. German advice, especially after the Franco-Prus- 
sian War, was asked and obtained and Krupp sent some of his 
gigantic pieces for the defense of the narrow waters. This 
German cooperation with the Turks in the strengthening of thosi* 
positions through all the years that have intervened is significant. 



T ET US inspect the fortifications in the Dardanelles at the begln- 
•*-i ning of the war in 1914. The Dardanelles, from end to end, 
have a length of forty-seven miles. From the town of Gallipoli to 
the MgesLTiy however, the full distance of the narrow section of 
the waterway, is a matter of thirty-three miles. At one point the 
passage is less than 1,400 yards wide and at no point is it more 
than 7,000. Although there is a good depth in much of the 
channel, shallows are to be met with in most unexpected places. 
To make navigation even more difficult, there is a swift and 
powerful surface current running through the Narrows, on 
some occasions at a speed of eight knots an hour. In addition 
there is not only a strong undercurrent, but, as well, many cross 
currents. At certain seasons of the year the wind and weather 
make navigation of large vessels almost impossible. 

Both sides of the Dardanelles offered natural positions of enor- 
mous advantage to a defending force. On the Gallipoli side were 


a tangled mass of rocks and hills, almost devoid of vegetation 
except for stubby yellow bushes. In a few of the little valleys, 
stray clusters of olive trees relieved the monotony of the view. 
Heights rose upon heights and along the shores of the penin- 
sula nearly perpendicular cliffs made landings almost out of 
the question. 

Thi« whole peninsula was a difficult country to traverse even 
in times of peace. No large maps existed of its intricate paths, 
there were few roads, and those that did exist were so com- 
manded by heights and concealed positions for guns and infantry 
that the progress of an attacking force would inevitably be most 
difficult and costly. 

Water was almost nonexistent. Most of the available sup- 
ply was so protected that an attacking force would in no case be 
able to use it until its task of conquest was complete. As such 
a force advanced inland, these difficulties as well as those of the 
country would constantly and rapidly increase. From Cape Hel- 
las, at the tip of the peninsula where a sandy beach made a land- 
ing possible, if difficult, the ground rapidly rose to a height of 140 
feet. Hill country then led to ridges standing 600 feet, while a 
mile and a half beyond stood 600 feet in the air the command- 
ing peak of Achi Baba, destined to play so large and so tragic 
a part in the struggle for the peninsula of Gallipoli. At the 
narrowest part of the Narrows, the real key position to the 
straits, stood the Kilid Bahr plateau, 700 feet, while to the north- 
west, almost 300 feet higher, stood the precipitous eminence of 
Sari Bair, a dense mass of trackless ravines and thickets. 

Where the peninsula of Gallipoli joined the mainland is, com- 
paratively speaking, a narrow neck of land. Even this, however, 
presented tremendous potential difficulties to any force. A hill 
almost 500 feet in height rose in the center and marshed on either 
side prevented a turning movement. Furthermore, the difficulties 
of landing a force in the face of an enemy strongly intrenched 
on the heights were not lessened by the circumstance that the 
cliffs rose to a height of 300 feet, almost straight from the water's 
edge. In short nature seems to have designed the country in 
every way as a protection against an armed force seeking to 


force its way either in or out of the Black Sea. To just what ex- 
tent these natural advantages had been utilized by the Turks it is 
impossible to say. It is not likely, however, that they, or their 
German mentors, had been idle, in view of the importance the 
Allies were known to attach to the straits. 

In September, 1914, and probably for some time before, the 
Turks were known to be busy strengthening the forts. Subse- 
quent events led to the conclusion that they, or their German 
advisers, were alive to the lessons of the early days of the war 
in France and Belgium and had made elaborate arrange- 
ments for the placing of heavy guns in concealed positions. In 
addition they perfected the mobility of even the heaviest of 
pieces, so that it became impossible for observation from the 
Franco-British ships or from aeroplanes to locate them with 
any certitude. 

The Turks also seem to have secured a plentiful supply of sea 
mines, with which the waters approaching the Dardanelles and 
the actual passage of the straits were strewn along the shores. 
Toward the Narrows were constructed shore batteries for the 
launching of torpedoes, as well as for the launching of floating 
mines. The strong current of the straits could be depended upon 
to carry these latter engines of destruction among the allied 
ships of war should they venture within the narrow, confined 
waters of the Dardanelles. 

This was the condition of affairs, then, on November 8, 1914, 
when a joint Anglo-French squadron sailed in close to the tip 
of the Gallipoli peninsula and opened a bombardment of the outer 
defenses of the Dardanelles. For this and subsequent naval oper- 
ations against the Turkish position, England was able to detach 
from her main theatre of naval activity — ^the North Sea — a con- 
siderable number of old, but still extremely powerful, battleships 
and battle cruisers. These boats, with the exception of the Queen 
Elizabeth, which, later appeared on the scene, were all built pre- 
vious to the introduction of the dreadnought and were to a con- 
siderable extent made obsolete by that vessel. At any rate they 
could not engage the more modem ships of the German navy and 
could not be attached to the grand fleet of England because of 


their lack of high speed and the heaviest of guns. For these rea- 
sons, although their loss in any engagement against the Turkish 
defenses would not be relished by the British authorities, still 
such a disaster would not be decisive in any war. As Winston 
Churchill subsequently pointed out, many of them would have, 
in the ordinary course of events, but a few more years of life in 
the British navy, so rapidly were modern battleships deteriorat- 
ing under the rapid advance of naval science. 

At the entrance to the straits the Turks had erected two major 
positions and several minor ones. On the Asiatic shore stood 
the Kum Kale Fort, known as the "New Castle of Asia." There 
the main battery consisted of four 10.2-inch guns. A short dis- 
tance down the coast stood Yeni Shehr, where a main battery of 
two 9.2-inch guns and a short battery of smaller pieces had been 
erected. On the European side, opposite Kum Kale, stood Sedd- 
el-Bahr, with six 10-inch and two 5.9-inch guns. At Cape 
Hellas, the extreme point of the Gallipoli Peninsula, was the 
Erteghrul Battery, mounting two 9.2-inch guns and some 
minor pieces. 

Each of the attacking warships fired about a score of shells at 
these forts and an attempt was made to determine just how much 
damage had been done. None of the forts were silenced, however, 
and it was finally decided by the commander of the Anglo-French 
naval force. Vice Admiral Carden, that conditions were not propi- 
tious for pushing home the attack and the vessels retired out to 
sea, where they maintained a tight blockade of the Dardanelles. 
Then there followed a long period of naval inactivity, at least so 
far as the larger vessels were concerned. 

About a month later, however, on December 13, 1914, the com- 
mander of a British submarine accomplished a feat in the Sea of 
Marmora that not only aroused his countrymen to enthusiasm 
but as well won for him the coveted Victoria Cross, the first in- 
stance of the winning of that decoration by a naval officer since 
the beginning of the war. 

Lieutenant Holbrook was in command of the B-ll, a 316-ton 
submarine launched as far back as 1906. It was in no sense to be 
compared to the giant underwater crafts that were being 


launched and used at the outbreak of the war, some of them 
measuring 800 feet. The B-11 carried only sixteen men in all — 
two officers and fourteen men. 

Early in the morning of December 13, 1914, she started 
through the straits. Evidently her commander had knowledge of 
the disposition of the Turkish mine field, for Lieutenant Holbrook 
successfully navigated his ship through it, dived under five rows 
of mines, any one of which would have blown his frail craft into 
a thousand pieces, and came up under the side of the Turkish 
battleship Messudiyeh. The Messudiyeh, in any other navy, would 
have been retired long before, but Turkey had none two many 
ships and probably had been saving her to fight against the 
equally ancient vessels of some other minor power. Launched 
as far back as 1874, she had been reconstructed and rearmed in 
1901. She was lying in the Sea of Marmora, guarding the very 
mine field under which Holbrook had dived his craft. 

Holbrook observed the Messudiyeh through the periscope of 
the B-11, maneuvered for position, dived, came up again and 
launched his torpedo. It struck home and the ancient sides of the 
Messudiyeh gaped wide. Slowly she sank while Holbrook dived 
to safety. For nine and a half hours the latter felt his way out 
of the straits and when he returned to the fleet his little vessel 
and its daring crew received an enthusiastic demonstration from 
the soldiers of the larger warships. Besides the Victoria Cross, 
received by Holbrook himself, his second in command. Lieutenant 
Sydney T. Winn, received the Distinguished Service Order, and 
each of the fourteen members of the crew received the Distin- 
guished Service Medal. 

On the next day, December 14, 1914, the British submarine 
B-9 attempted to repeat the feat, but the Turks were pre- 
pared. When she came to the surface mines were exploded 
all around her, and she had all she could do to make good her 

On January 15, 1915, not content that the British should have 
all the danger, or the glory, the French submarine, Saphir, en- 
tered the straits. Near Nagara Point she struck the bottom in 
one of those shallow spots that abound in the Dardanelles, was 


compelled to come to the surface in a disabled condition and was 
quickly shot to pieces by the Turkish shore batteries. 

The movement against the forts in the Dardanelles was now 
begun. This campaign, which was begun with so much con- 
fidence of ultimate success, was destined to become one of the 
greatest repulses that the Allies had encountered thus far during 
the war. 




THE battle lines of the Great War on land and sea were now 
beginning to encircle the earth. While the gigantic armies on 
the battle grounds of Europe were engaged in the greatest test 
of "the survival of the fittest" that the world had ever witnessed, 
while the sharp encounters on the seas were carrying the war 
around the globe, the outbreaks in the Far East were bringing 
the Orient and the Occident — ^the two competitive systems of civ- 
ilization — into a strange alignment. The Moslem world was 
dividing against itself as had the Christian world. The followers 
of Buddha and the Brahmins were in direct conflict. 

It is important, therefore, to consider in this chapter the de- 
velopment of events in the Far East, which have been only out- 
lined in the preceding narratives. Of all the powers that joined 
the coalition against Germany in August, 1914, none could state 
H clearer cause of action than Japan. From the first outbreak of 
iiostilities there was never any question of whether the "England 
of the East'' would enter the war, and on which side she would 
be aligned. Japan decided promptly and, having decided, acted 
with characteristic energy, 

For a casiLs belli the Japanese statesmen had only to hold up 
to the eyes of the world the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, which had 
been signed on August 12, 1905. The object of this agreement 
was the maintenance of the general peace in eastern Asia and 
India, the preservation of the common interests of all powers in 
China, by insuring the independence and integrity of the Chinese 



Empire and the principle of equal opportunities for the commerce 
and industry of all nations in China, the maintenance of the ter- 
ritorial rights of the high contracting parties in the regions of 
eastern Asia and of India, and the defense of their special inter- 
ests in the said regions. If these rights and interests were 
jeopardized, Japan and Great Britain agreed to discuss fully 
and frankly what measures should be pursued for defense, and to 
act in common in case of unprovoked attack or aggressive action 
wherever arising on the part of any other power or powers. 

Thus, in those critical days of August, 1914, one of the first 
acts of the British Government, when war was declared on Ger- 
many, and the empire was reaching out for every possible means 
of defense and aggression, was to ask Japan for assistance under 
the terms of this alliance. And Japan did not hesitate — she 
threw herself vigorously into the Great War. The Japanese 
Emperor in his declaration of war against Germany did not 
suggest that Japan acted in response to her ally's direct request 
for assistance, but the Japanese Foreign Minister, Baron Kato, 
in his speech explaining the situation to the Diet, laid emphasis 
upon the treaty as the most important factor in the situation. 

"German warships and armed vessels," said the foreign min- 
ister, "are prowling around the seas of eastern Asia, menacing 
our commerce and that of our ally, while Kiao-chau was carrying 
out operations apparently for the purpose of constituting a base 
for warlike operations in eastern Asia. Grave anxiety was thus 
felt for the maintenance of peace in the Far East. 

"As all are aware," he continued, "the agreement and alliance 
between Japan and Great Britain has for its object the con- 
solidation and maintenance of general peace in eastern Asia, and 
the maintenance of the independence and integrity of China, as 
well as the principle of equal opportunities for commerce and in- 
dustry for all nations in that country, and the maintenance and 
defense respectively of territorial rights and special interests of 
contracting parties in eastern Asia. Therefore, inasmuch as we 
are asked by our ally for assistance at a time when commerce in 
eastern Asia, which Japan and Great Britain regard alike as one 
of their special interests, is subjected to a constant menace, 


Japan, who regards that alliance as a guiding principle of her 
foreign policy, could not but comply to the respect to do her part." 

The Japanese statesman offered this explanation to his people : 
"Germany's possession of a base for powerful activities in one 
comer of the Far East was not only a serious obstacle to the 
maintenance of a permanent peace, but also threatened the im- 
mediate interests of the Japanese Empire. The Japanese Gov- 
ernment, therefore, resolved to comply with the British request, 
and, if necessary, to open hostilities against Germany." 

Baron Kato's speech was delivered after Japan had declared 
war. The Western world, when it found time to turn its atten- 
tion from the absorbing drama already being enacted in Belgium 
to the minor crisis in the Far East, was not left long in doubt 
regarding the intentions of Great Britain's ally. War was de- 
clared on August 24, 1914, nine days after Japan had dispatched 
to Germany an ultimatum, which Germany scornfully ignored. 

The text of the ultimatum was as follows: "We consider it 
highly important and necessary in the present situation to take 
measures to remove the causes of all disturbance of peace in the 
Far East, and to safeguard general interests as contemplated in 
the agreement of alliance between Japan and Great Britain. 

"In order to secure firm and enduring peace in eastern Asia, 
the establishment of which is the aim of the agreement, the 
Japanese Government sincerely believes it to be its duty to give 
advice to the German Government to carry out the following two 
propositions : 

"(1) To withdraw immediately from Japanese and Chinese 
waters the German warships and armed vessels of all kinds, and 
to disarm those which cannot be withdrawn. 

"(2) To deliver on a date not later than September 15 to the 
Japanese authorities, without condition or compensation, the en- 
tire leased territory of Kiao-chau, with a view to the eventual 
restoration of the same to China. 

"The Japanese Government announces at the same time that in 
the event of its not receiving by noon on August 23, 1914, an 
answer from the German Government signifying unconditional 
acceptance of the above advid offered by the Japanese Govern- 






ment, Japan will be compelled to take such action as it may deem 
necessary to meet the situation." 

The intervention of Japan in the war, welcome as it was to 
Great Britain, created special problems for that empire. The 
British in China, and the people of Australia, New Zealand, and 
western North America had long been uneasy regarding the com- 
mercial and political policy of Japan. On the Pacific Coast of 
the United States and Canada a strong anti-Japanese sentiment 
had developed. British statesmen were apprehensive lest the 
entry of Japan into the war might be used to alienate American 
sympathy from the Allies and diminish the zeal of the Canadian 
and Australasian colonies for the war. 

To meet this situation, the British Government issued a formal 
statement which said : "It is understood that the action of Japan 
shall not extend to the Pacific Ocean beyond the China Sea, ex- 
cept in so far as it may be necessary to protect Japanese ship- 
ping lines in the Pacific, nor beyond Asiatic waters westward of 
the China Seas, nor to any foreign territory except territory in 
German occupation on the continent of eastern Asia." This 
declaration went far toward allaying uneasiness, especially in the 
United States. 

The Japanese people accepted the situation calmly. There were 
few noisy demonstrations. Germans living in Japan were not 
molested, notwithstanding the action of Germany, which immedi- 
ately after the ultimatum was issued arrested every Japanese 
subject in Germany and seized funds of the Japanese Govern- 
ment deposited in the Deutsche Bank of Berlin. In Tokyo the 
chief of police told the people that although the two Governments 
had entered into hostilities, the people individually were not to 
cultivate hostility. The German Ambassador remained at the 
Japanese capital until August 30, 1914. A number of Germans 
who decided to stay in Japan were allowed to continue their 
regular occupations. 

When no answer came from Germany up to the time of the 
expiration of Japan's ultimatum, the imperial rescript declaring 
the existence of a state of war was issued next day. 

The emperor said : "We hereby declare war against Germany 


and we command our army and navy to carry on hostilities 
against that empire with all their strength, and we also command 
all our competent authorities to make every effort in pursuance 
of their respective duties to attain the national aim within the 
limit of the law of nations. 

"Since the outbreak of the present war in Europe, the calam- 
itous effect of which we view with grave concern, we, on our 
part, have entertained hopes of preserving the peace of the Far 
East by the maintenance of strict neutrality, but the action of 
Germany has at length compelled Great Britain, our ally, to open 
hostilities against that country, and Germany is at Kiao-chau, its 
leased territory in China, busy with warlike preparations, while 
her armed vessels, cruising the seas of eastern Asia, are threat- 
ening our commerce and that of our ally. The peace of the Far 
East is thus in jeopardy. 

"Accordingly, our Government and that of his Britannic 
Majesty, after a full and frank communication with each other, 
agreed to take such measures as may be necessary for the pro- 
tection of the general interests contemplated in the agreement of 
alliance, and we on our part, being desirous to attain that object 
by peaceful means, commanded our Government to offer, with 
sincerity, an advice to the Imperial German Government. By the 
last day appointed for the purpose, however, our Government 
failed to receive an answer accepting their advice. 

"It is with profound regret that we, in spite of our ardent de- 
votion to the cause of peace, are thus compelled to declare war, 
especially at this early period of our reign, and while we are still 
in mourning for our lamented mother. 

"It is our earnest wish that, by the loyalty and valor of our 
faithful subjects, peace may soon be restored and the glory of the 
empire enhanced." 




WE now pass to the first fighting ground in the Far East. 
Unlike the campaigns in the west, the war in eastern Asia 
developed along lines which any observer, possessing the least 
knowledge of history and international politics and military 
strategy, could foresee. From both military and commercial 
standpoints none of Germany's possessions in the Far East could 
compare in importance with the little tip of the Shantung Penin- 
sula leased for a term of ninety-nine years from China in 1898. 
This concession, about fifteen miles long and ten miles across, 
was designated Kiao-chau. In the sixteen years since their tenure 
began, the Germans had laid out at Tsing-tau, situated at the 
extreme southern end of the peninsula, a city which was rapidly 
growing to foremost importance among the ports of the Chinese 
coast. A large part of the native population was induced to 
migrate, hills were leveled, roads constructed, trees planted, and 
waterworks and sewers laid out along the most up-to-date 

The Great War found Tsing-tau a modem city, almost 
European in appearance, with a magnificent harbor, where 
natural advantages had been enhanced by the construction of 
immense piers and breakwaters. One line of railway connected 
the port with Chi-nan, capital of Shantung Province, and Ger- 
many held concessions for the construction of two new lines. The 
census of 191B showed a total population of 58,000, of which 
Germans, exclusive of the garrison, numbered 2,500. Non-Ger- 
man Europeans, Americans, and Japanese numbered but 630. 
The European quarter was distinctly Teutonic. 

The attack on Tsing-tau was a foregone conclusion. As a naval 
base and a seat of menace to the commerce of hostile nations, 
Tsing-tau occupied an unexcelled situation, almost equidistant 
from Nagasaki and Shanghai, in virtually the same latitude as 


Tokyo, San Francisco, and Gibraltar. Its defenses were second in 
strength only to those of Port Arthur and Hongkong. 

Kiao-chau was under the administration of the German 
admiralty. The German fleet seized it in 1897 ostensibly to 
secure reparation for the murder of two German missionaries in 
Shantung. The ninety-nine-year lease subsequently arranged 
gave Germany the right to fortify the new concession, and the 
thoroughness with which this privilege was exercised was 
proved by the stout resistance the garrison was able to make 
against far superior forces of besiegers. The whole concession 
occupied 117 square miles. 

Although Kiao-chau was the kaiser's only continental colony 
in Asia the outbreak of the war found Germany in possession 
of several islands and groups of islands in the Pacific. These 
included German New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago, the 
Caroline, Pelew Marrana, Solomon and Marshall Islands and a 
portion of the Samoan group. But the strongly fortified port on 
the Shantung Peninsula was the naval base for the protection 
of all these ocean possessions; and the Japanese statesmen 
rightly concluded that with Tsing-tau in their grasp the reduc- 
tion of the other German colonies would be only a formal task 
of seizure. Therefore the 27th of August, 1914, four days after 
the declaration of war, saw a Japanese fleet blockading Tsing- 
tau and Japanese transports carrying troops for landing expedi- 
tions in cooperation with the warships. 

Germany began the concentration of all available forces inside 
the Tsing-tau fortifications on August 8, 1914. But she was 
able to gather there when the siege began only 5,000 men, a hand- 
ful compared with the great force Japan could muster for the 
reduction of the fortress. The garrison of peace times was 
augmented by reservists, who came from treaty ports along the 
Chinese coast, from Japan, Siberia, and from every part of 
the Far East near enough to enable German veterans to reach the 
city before communication was cut off. 

The crew of the Austrian cruiser Kaiserin Elizabeth, more 
than 300 men, who had left Tsing-tau by railroad before Austria 
decided to join her ally in the Far East as well as in Europe, 

4— War St. 3 


hurried back in small groups and in civilian clothes to escape 
detection. Squads of the Landsturm, the last reserve, middle- 
aged men who had left their families and their business in all 
parts of China joined the ranks and went to drilling in prepara- 
tion for the hard fighting expected as soon as the invading fleet 
passed the outer defenses of the harbor. Altogether the de- 
fenders mustered three artillery and infantry regiments and 
four troops of cavalry. They had three aeroplanes and a few 
machine guns and in the harbor were four small gunboats in 
addition to the Kaiserin Elizabeth. 

Tsing-tau's principal points of defense were Mount Moltke, 
Mount Bismarck and Mount litis. The rugged slopes of these 
positions commanded the plain. Beyond the plain the important 
outer line of defense was along the Litsum River, which flows 
into Kiao-chau Bay and then through the mountains to the sea, 
a line about eight miles long and about ten miles distant from 
the city. Preparations to oppose a landing of hostile troops 
were made at points along the coast of the leased territory 
for a distance of twenty miles. At the entrance of the bay 
shore batteries and mines made a bombardment by the 
Japanese fleet impracticable, except with the support of land 

The first line of defense comprised five forts connected by 
trenches and barbed wire entanglements. The shore defenses 
consisted of five forts, called respectively : "The Kaiser's," armed 
with two large guns mounted upon unsheltered platforms and 
two cannon of medium caliber shdtered; "August Point," a 
square closed fort with unsheltered gun platforms, and two guns 
of large medium caliber; "Taisichen," unsheltered with four 
large cannon; "Kaiser Northeast," unsheltered four cannon; 
"Yunuisan Point," two cannon of medium caliber. The main 
line of defense was for both land and sea work ; "Fort Moltke" 
at the base of the German left wing had a shelter trench and 
guns of medium caliber ; **Fort Bismarck" had three heavy gun 
platforms in addition to a platform for rapid fire guns of large 
caliber. From this the guns could be turned in any direction. 
"Fort litis" mounted four heavy guns of large and medium 


caliber besides mitrailleuse of large size. Two heavy guns were 
mounted in the summit of Mount litis. 

In command of the German forces was the Governor General 
of Kiao-chau, Admiral Meyer-Waldeck, a naval officer of ex- 
perience and reputation. The defenses of both land and sea were 
under his control. 

This entrance of Japan into the war introduced a factor 
fraught with unknown possibilities. Unlike the other enemies 
of the Teutonic alliance, Japan had nothing to fear for her home 
territory or her possessions. Secure from attack, she was able 
to devote all her energies to the task of driving the Germans 
out of the Far East. By this accomplishment she not only 
fulfilled the terms of her alliance with Great Britain, but 
strengthened her own supremacy in that quarter of the globe. 

Tsing-tau, since its occupation by the Germans, had been like 
a mailed fist brandished in her face. Since Japan's victory over 
Russia no other European power had occupied a position on 
the Asiatic coast that offered a threat comparable to this Ger- 
man stronghold. Also, it was only human that the Japanese 
remembered how Germany compelled them to abandon many 
of their fruits of victory in their last war with China. 

The unknown factor of her participation was just how far 
Japan would go in aiding her new allies. The military and naval 
potentialities of the Island Kingdom when the war started were 
greater than ever before. She was twice as strong as when she 
went to war with Russia. Her navy was sufficiently formidable 
to resist, in home waters at least, that of any other power except 
England. Her army, twice proved during recent years against 
the soldiers of Russia and China, was steadily increasing its 
size and equipment. Her predominant position in the Far East 
was absolutely assured. 

The Japanese army, based to a certain extent upon the German 
model, numbered at the outbreak of the war somewhat over 
250,000 men of all ranks. This was its peace strength. Military 
service was obligatory upon all able-bodied males between the 
ages of seventeen and forty. This law made available each year 
550,000 men, but in practice during times of peace the annual 


conscription amounted to only 120,000 men taken by ballot from 
among the number eligible. The total effective military strength 
of the Empire was estimated at a million and a half trained 

The army was divided into nineteen divisions, four independ- 
ent cavalry brigades, three independent field artillery brigades, 
six regiments of heavy field artillery and a communication bri- 
gade. Each divisional unit consisted of two infantry brigades of 
six battalions each, a cavalry regiment (three squadrons of 120 
men each), a field artillery regiment (six batteries of six guns), 
and a battalion of army service corps. A battalion of mountain 
guns was attached to certain divisions. Thus the army on a 
peace footing consisted of seventy-six infantry regiments (228 
battalions), twenty-seven regiments of cavalry, 150 field bat- 
teries, nine mountain batteries, nineteen battalions of garrison 
artillery and nineteen battalions of engineers. When the reserves 
were summoned to the colors the Japanese system provided for 
an indefinite increase in the number of battalions for each 

The Japanese navy had weathered a storm which at one time 
threatened to interfere seriously with its steady growth, and 
the year 1914 found it at a formidable climax of strength and 
efficiency. The war with Russia had left the nation on the verge 
of bankruptcy and the annual budgets from 1907 to 1910 con- 
tained no appropriations for naval increases. The lull in naval 
construction, however, was of short duration. The wisest states- 
men realized, from the time when Japan first emerged from 
her Oriental seclusion and eagerly set out to learn the lessons 
of western civilization, that their country's insular situation 
made a strong navy the first requisite of national independence. 
It was the warships of the western world that forced the 
Japanese to open their door to the foreigner. Fifteen years after 
the Japanese had seen the foreign men-of-war riding dominant 
in their harbors, their antiquated collection of war junks had 
been replaced by an up-to-date navy, manned and officered by 
sea fighters trained upon the best western models. In 1910 
the Japanese began to compare their nav^^ equipment with that 


of Germany, and from that time their shipbuilding program 
was designed to make them secure against the chance of Ger- 
man aggression, ever present since the Ibasing of Kiao-chau. 

At the outbreak of the Great War the Japanese navy had 
nearly doubled its strength since the close of the war with Russia. 
It included two battleships of the dreadnought class, the 
Kawachi and the Settsu, both over 21,000 tons, with a speed of 
twenty knots, two dreadnought battle crusiers of 27,500 tons 
each and a speed of twenty-seven knots, the Kongo and the Hiyei; 
two semi-dreadnought battleships, the Aki and Satsuma, between 
19,000 and 20,000 tons each and a speed of twenty and eighteen 
and a quarter knots, respectively ; four first-class battle cruisers 
with speeds ranging from twenty to twenty-three knots and 
averaging 14,000 tons; six battleships of slightly heavier dis- 
placement and slightly less speed; six first-class coast defense 
ships, averaging 13,000 tons and seventeen and a half knots; 
nine first-class cruisers ranging from 7,300 to 9,800 tons and 
twenty to twenty-one knots ; thirteen second-class cruisers, some 
of which had a speed of twenty-six knots; seven second-class 
coast defense ships; nine gunboats, two first-class destroyers 
capable of thirty-five knots an hour ; two second-class destroyers 
with a speed of thirty-three knots ; and forty-six other destroyers 
of varying speeds; thirty-one torpedo boats and thirteen sub- 
marines, besides auxiliary craft, hospital ships, dispatch boats, 

Although the Japanese air fleet gave a good account of itself 
during the operations before Tsing-tau it developed no sur- 
prises, and accomplished no exploits to confirm rumors prevail- 
ing before the war that in Japan naval aviation had reached a 
special and advanced stage. The Japanese Flying Corps con- 
ducted itself upon lines made familiar by the British, German 
and French aviators in Europe. 




HAVING reviewed the military and naval situation in the Far 
East at the outbreak of war, we come now to the beginning 
of actual belligerent operations. 

Japan's declaration of war against Germany was dated August 
23, 1914. The morning of the preceding day witnessed the de- 
parture from Japanese war ports of the greatest fleet of war- 
ships and transports the Empire had sent to sea since the 
Russian War. It comprised the Second Squadron, embracing 
battleships, cruisers, destroyers and hydro-aeroplanes, a dozen 
in all. The transports carried land forces numbering 22,980 
officers and men and 142 guns to be put ashore as soon as the 
landing forces had ground for their advantageous location. 

The Japanese troops included the Eighteenth Division, under 
Lieutenant General Mitsuomi Kamio, who was Commander in 
Chief of the expedition ; the Twenty-third Brigade of Infantry 
(Major General B. Horiuchi) ; the Twenty-fourth Brigade of 
Infantry, commanded by Major General Hanzo Yamanashi, 
Chief of Staff, and other divisional troops. The Twenty-ninth 
Brigade of Infantry (Major General G. Joholi). Siege Artil- 
lery Corps (Major General Y. Watanebe), the Miyama Heavy 
Artillery Regiment, the Yokosuka Heavy Artillery Regiment, 
the Shimonosoki Heavy Artillery Battalion, and the Tadanoumi 
Heavy Artillery Battalion. Detachments of Engineers and Army 
Service Corps from the Sixth and Twelfth Divisions. Two Rail- 
Way Battalions. Railway Guard Troops, the Eighth Infantry 
Regiment. Detachment of the Flying Corps. Marine Artillery 
Detachment. Being intended for siege work this army carried 
no cavalry, horse artillery or light field artillery. 

In command of the fleet was Vice Admiral Hikonojo Kam- 
imura, whose reputation as one of Japan's war idols was 
established when his squadron had defeated three Russian war- 


ships, the Rurik, Gromoboi and Rossia, off the east coast of Korea. 
Later his squadron had taken a commanding part in the great 
battle in the Japan Sea, which put an end to Russia's naval power 
in the East. Admiral Kamimura was sixty-five years old, and 
had spent the greater part of his life in naval service. After the 
final Russian defeat he was rewarded with the title of Baron 
and invested with the Grand Cordon of the Rising Sun and the 
first-class of the Golden Kite. 

On September 23, 1914, the Japanese were joined by a British 
force of 1,369 men under command of Lieutenant Colonel 
Nathaniel Walter Barnardiston, commander of the British forces 
in North China, including Wei-hai-wei. Although the British 
did not arrive until a month after the forces sailed from Japan, 
the distance that separated Laoshan Bay, where the former made 
their landing on the original leased territory and thus avoided 
the breach of neutrality against China committed by the 
Japanese, was so much shorter and the landing place presented 
so much less difficulty than the Japanese encountered in their 
preliminary advance, that the British really arrived on the 
scene of actual operations just as the Japanese were finishing 
their first engagements in force, on September 28, 1914. 

Colonel Bamardiston's command consisted of 910 noncom- 
missioned officers and men of the Second Battalion South Wales 
Borderers, and 450 non-commissioned officers and men of the 
Thirty-sixth Sikhs, besides nine staff officers. 

The bombardment of the Tsing-tau forts began on August 
26, 1914, and on September 1, 1914, the Japanese bluejackets 
seized several small islands in Kiao-chau Bay, which the Ger- 
mans were unable to defend except by long range fire from their 
shore batteries, and by mines with which the harbor had been 
thickly sown. Mine sweeping therefore occupied the first activi- 
ties of the fleet. This operation was signalized by one of the 
many acts of patriotism and bravery that characterized the 
siege on both sides. One hundred Japanese women who made 
their living by diving for pearls in these waters offered to enter 
the water and release the mines from their moorings so that 
they would be carried away by the tides. Their courageous offer 


was declined, not because the Japanese admiral believed it could 
not be carried out, but because the Japanese law expressly 
prohibited the employment of women in warlike operations. 
When one of the small boats that acted as mine sweepers was 
blown up during the dragging that followed the women renewed 
their offer, but again it was declined. 

The first landing on the Shan-tung Peninsula was mad< 
September 2, 1914. Ten thousand troops were put ashore; but 
it was not until September 25, 1914, that the invaders made 
their first capture of a German outpost, Weihsien. The check 
on the Japanese advance, however, was due less to the defenders 
of Tsing-tau than to the torrential rains, which swelled the 
streams and for a time effectively barred further movements. The 
Japanese artillery was compelled to return to Lung-chow, their 
original base on the mainland. 

The Japanese leaders proceeded with deliberation and caution. 
They had the enemy penned up with no hope of reenforcement, 
and nothing was to be gained by haste or the unnecessary waste 
of men and equipment. On September 19, 1914, to facilitate 
the movement of their troops behind the beleaguered city, they 
seized the railway connecting Tsing-tau with the Chinese pro- 
vince of Shantung, and China, prompted by Berlin, protested 
against the act as a violation of neutrality. This was the second 
Chinese protest, the first having been sent to Tokyo after the 
Japanese made their first landing on Chinese territory at Lung- 
chow. To the former objection Japan had no answer except to 
set forth that the landing was a militairy necessity and made with 
no intention of permanent occupancy. To the second protest, 
however, she replied without hesitation that possession of the 
railway line was justified since it was owned by Germans. The 
wide area covered by the Japanese investment campaign is 
shown by the fact that by September 13, 1914, they had 
established guards at the railway station of Kiao-chau — a town 
having the same name as the whole German concession — ^twenty- 
two miles distant from Tsing-tau. 

While the Japanese infantry and engineers waited for the 
floods the naval airmen were not idle. The first damage inside 



the city was inflicted by two seaplanes which dropped bombs 
upon the railway station and barracks. Although one of the 
planes was hit several times by the German guns, both made a 
safe return. This raid was the forerunner of a systematic air 
campaign, designed as much to strike terror and discourage- 
ment into the hearts of the garrison and the civil population as 
to gain any military end by the actual destruction of defense 
works. Bombs were dropped also upon ships in the harbor. 
Occasionally the Japanese flyers scattered circulars calling upon 
the defenders to surrender and pointing out the uselessness of 
further resistance. 

The first serious losses on either side were naval. On August 
28, 1914, two days after the first bombardment a typhoon swept 
the Japanese fleet, causing havoc among the little destroyers and 
sending one to the bottom. Five days later another destroyer 
ran aground in Kiao-chau Bay. A German merchant ship in the 
harbor was set afire by the Japanese aerial bombs and destroyed. 
The greatest naval losses suffered during the whole engagement 
were the destruction of the Austrian cruiser Kaiserin Elizabeth 
and of the Japanese cruiser Takachiho. The Kaiserin EUzabeth 
was sunk by the naval bombardment; but the loss of the Tak- 
achiho was due to the German torpedo boat 8-90, 

It was September 26, 1914, before the floods subsided sufli- 
ciently to permit the Japanese to resume their advance. On that 
day they drove the Germans from the high ground between the 
rivers Pai-sha and Li-tsun, and next day they pushed forward to 
a point seven miles northeast of Tsing-tau, between the Li-tsun 
and the Chang-tsun. The following morning found them estab- 
lished within five miles of the fortress. Their casualties were re- 
ported as three killed and twelve wounded. 

These two days saw the heaviest fighting thus far during the 
siege. While the land forces were pushing up to the main Ger- 
man forts the fleet carried on a general bombardment, having by 
this time moved in close enough to make gun fire eflFective and 
having learned the range. The Japanese warships were assisted 
by the British battleship Triumph, which had joined them a 
short time before with the British destroyer Usk. These British 


boats remained throughout the investment, the Triumph was a 
favorite mark for the German gunners, but escaped with com- 
paratively slight damage. 

By September 30, 1914, the Germans were driven in from their 
outer fortifications and Tsing-tau itself was completely sur- 
rounded. On that day the defenders made a desperate attempt to 
regain some of their lost positions, but they were repulsed, and 
the Japanese settled back for a few days to await the bringing 
up of their heavy siege guns. 

It is said that the failure of this assault, in which the Ger- 
mans apparently concentrated all their resources, convinced Gen- 
eral Kamio that the capture of the city would not prove the long, 
arduous task that had been expected, and he abandoned forth- 
with his plans for a long, slow siege and made preparations to 
take the place by assault. At the same time the Japanese com- 
mander showed no disposition to sacrifice his men unnecessarily, 
and while waiting for their big guns the Japanese worked like 
beavers with pick and shovel protecting their positions and dig- 
ging saps and zigzag trenches up to the very face of the German 
defenses. They labored under a storm of shells but so little ex- 
posed that losses under the bombardment were small compared 
with the casualties of the actual assault operations. 

For eight days the Germans poured projectiles into the enemy's 
works ; but for the most part their shooting was a waste of am- 
munition. Just why the defenders of Tsing-tau were so prodigal 
of ammunition at this time never has been satisfactorily ex- 
plained. Military correspondents estimated that during one 
period of twenty-four hours the forts on the three hills contain- 
ing the main defensive positions fired more than 2,000 shells 
without inflicting any loss whatever. 

But by October 8, 1914, the German fire slackened perceptibly. 
They had found that they were wasting their resources and that 
several positions were almost out of ammunition. The warfare 
of that period is described in a letter written by an officer with 
the British expeditionary force : 

"That night," he said, "we were working in trenches along a 
river bed at the bottom of the slope, where the others had been 


wounded, and sans doute most darnation close to the enemy. A 
beginning had been made on this trench the night before, so there 
was a little cover. The two redoubts were about 800 yards on our 
right and left respectively, the enemy's trenches about 350 
yards to our front. 

"Well, for the first hour after getting down we were left se- 
verely alone. Then they started throwing star rockets and sort of 
Roman candle things which lit up the place like day, and at the 
same time they peppered us with Maxims, pompoms, and rifle 
fire from all three places. We had some men hit further back in 
■the communication trench, but funnily enough none in the for- 
'^ard line. . . . We were entertained by a certain amount of shell 
ire during the rest of the night. Next night we were due to 
leave for the forward trenches at dusk to carry on, having had 
>ur usual entertainment in the afternoon from the Germans, 
^hen suddenly they began throwing shrapnel at our trench. For 
about half an hour it was all over us, and Fm blest if I know why 
nobody was hit. It was the overhead cover, I fancy, that saved 
us this time. We came out like a lot of rabbits when it was over 
and proceeded to get down below. 

"The Japanese artillery was supporting us that night, as we 
were working on the enemy's side of the river, within 200 yards 
of their advance trenches. Never have I felt a more comforting 
sensation then when watching those Japanese shells bursting 
just over our heads, a little in advance, the shrapnel from them 
going slap into the Germans every time. I must say it was a 
magnificent sight when the Japanese guns were going, the Ger- 
man rockets, etc., and their machine guns and rifles joining in 
when they could get their heads up. One had to shout to make 
oneself heard, and those who saw it from the top of Heinrich Hill 
in rear said it was very fine." 

During the early days of the siege life in the beleaguered city 
went on about as usual. A large part of the civil population had 
withdrawn while there was yet time, but enough shops remained 
open to supply the needs of those who remained. Cafes continued 
business and meals were served without interruption at the Ger- 
man Club throughout the siege, although toward the end the num- 


ber of those who gathered at the club's tables dwindled to a few 
administrative officers and civilians. 

In a proclamation the day before the expiration of the Japanese 
ultimatum, Governor Meyer-Waldeck had expressed the spirit of 
the little garrison in the following words ; 

"Never shall we surrender the smallest bit of ground over 
which the war flag is flying. From this place, which we with love 
and success have endeavored during the last seventeen years to 
shape into a little Germany across the seas, we shall not retreat. 
If the enemy wants Tsing-tau, he must come and take it." 

Few, if any, military men in Tsing-tau doubted the outcome of 
the siege; but every resource was prepared for a desperate re- 
sistance. The city did not lack food ; and after the surrender it 
was found that enough still remained to provision the garrison 
for more than three months longer. The supply of running water 
ceased about the middle of October. News from the outside world 
came in until November 5, and invariably it told of German 

"I remember one evening," said the Tsing-tau correspondent of 
the Associated Press, and the only foreign press representa- 
tive in the city during the siege, "the roar of laughter that went 
up in the German Club when the news was read that England 
had asked Portugal for assistance. For two or three days it 
looked, according to the news, that the British Empire was going 
to pieces. We heard of revolutions in India, riots in Alexandria, 
mutiny and martial law in South Africa and even disaffection in 
Sarawak and North Borneo." 

When it became clear that the end was drawing near prepara- 
tions were made that as few war munitions as possible should 
fall into the hands of the enemy.. The warships in the harbor 
that had escaped the bombardment were blown up. When the 
big guns in the forts had fired their last shots the gunners under 
orders destroyed them. In many cases this was done because 
without ammunition the guns were useless. 

October 31, 1914, the anniversary of the emperor's birthday, 
was selected by the Japanese and English for their final bombard- 
ment. From 142 guns now occupying commanding positions came 


a deluge of shells that continued for seven days. The gunners by 
this time had the exact ranges and wasted no ammunition. The 
staffs of the two expeditionary forces gathered on Prince Hein- 
rich Hill to watch the final act of the passing of German rule 
in the Far East. The warships ranged in the harbor joined in, 
and after an hour or two it became evident that the German 
defenses would be swept away by mere weight of metal. Under 
cover of this terrific gunfire the Allies' troops drove their saps 
and trenches up the very edge of the defense works, where they 
waited orders to take the place by storm. 

The Germans replied bravely. A great cloud of smoke and dust 
arose over the doomed city visible far out at sea. In the city the 
noncombatants took refuge in their cellars and helped care for 
the wounded. Almost every German position, except the bomb- 
proof casements where the guns stood, was hammered to pieces. 
The electric power station was destroyed, so that during the last 
few nights the city was in darkness. 

The last handbills dropped into Tsing-tau by the Japanese 
iviators contained the following appeal : "To the honored officers 
md men in the fortress : It is against the will of God, as well as 
the principles of humanity, to destroy and render useless arms, 
jhips of war, and merchantmen, and other works and construc- 
tions, not in obedience to the necessity of war, but merely out of 
jpite, lest they fall into the hands of the enemy. Trusting, as we 
lo, that, as you hold dear the honor of civilization, you will not be 
[betrayed into such base conduct, we beg you, however, to an- 
[nounce to us your own view as mentioned above. 

(Signed) "The Besieging Army." 

It is needless to say that the enemy's plea was not heeded. By 
fovember 6, 1914, only spasmodic fire from widely scattered posi- 
tions answered the Allies' bombardment. That night the Japa- 
nese and English charged across open ground and took the middle 
Port in the first line of defense with surprising ease, capturing 
too prisoners. The charge was led by General Yoshimi Yamada 
it the head of companies of infantry and engineers. At one point 
bhey surprised a squad of Germans in charge of a searchlight. 


To have fired upon them would have betrayed the advance to the 
defenders of the adjacent fort; so, the story says, the Germans 
were quietly and quickly dispatched by the engineers with picks 
and shovels. 



TSING-TAU fell early on the morning of the next day, Novem- 
ber 7, 1914. Encouraged by the unexpected successes of the 
night, the Japanese commander gave the order for a final grand 
assault. Nobody was more surprised than the Japanese them- 
selves. They had expected a last-ditch resistance and feared they 
would have to sacrifice a thousand men before gaining these posi- 
tions commanding the city. But the Germans, their ammunition 
almost gone, gtunned by the continuous rain of shells and broken 
by long fighting, had decided that further resistance was useless. 

The Japanese infantry occupied the central positions on the 4 
main line of defense soon after midnight. Just before dawn they 
captured the north battery on Shaotan Hill, then the east battery 
of Tahtungehin and the Chungchiawa fort on the west. The 
heaviest loss suffered by any of the Japanese detachments in the 
final assault fell upon a company that was caught by machine- 
gun fire in an attack upon Redoubt No. 2. Out of 250 men only 
87 escaped. The total Japanese casualties in the final assault 
were 450 killed and wounded. The British casualties were 

Daylight found the Japanese and British in possession of every 
position commanding the city and nearly 20,000 men were await- 
ing the signal to charge the last line of defenses when a white 
flag appeared on the Tsing-tau military observatory. Within the 
next hour flags of surrender were flying from all the other Ger- 
man forts. So unexpected was the sudden collapse of the defense 
that at six o'clock, when the Governor sent Major von Kayser, his 
adjutant, with a white flag to make terms, the signal of sur- 


render was not observed and the Japanese, far from suspecting 
the German officer's purpose, opened fire, killing Von Kayser's 
trumpeter and shooting his horse under him. 

The formal capitulation of Tsing-tau came at 7.50 o'clock on 
the evening of November 7, 1914, when both sides signed the 
Japanese terms. The Germans surrendered unconditionally, but 
were accorded the honors of war. On November 10, 1914, at 
10 a. m., Governor Meyer-Waldeck formally transferred posses- 
sion to General Kamio, and German's last foothold in Asia passed 
from her possession. 

News of the fall of Tsing-tau, although not unexpected, caused 
great rejoicing throughout Japan and among her allies, and pro- 
foundly stirred the German world. 

The German attitude was expressed by an editorial in the 
Berlin "Lokalanzeiger," which said : "Never shall we forget the 
bold deed of the yellow robbers, or of England that set them on 
to do it. We know that we cannot yet settle with Japan for years 
to come. Perhaps she will rejoice over her cowardly robbery. 
Here our mills can grind but slowly. Even if the years pass, 
however, we shall certainly not often speak of it, but as certainly 
always think of it." 

The Japanese and British forces made formal entry into the 
captured city on November 16, 1914. The Germans had done all 
in their power to destroy supplies, nevertheless the spoils of vic- 
tory included 100 machine guns, 2,500 rifles, 30 field guns, a small 
amount of ammunition, about $6,000 in cash, 15,000 tons of coal, 
40 motor cars, and a large quantity of provisions. Prisoners 
taken numbered 4,043, including the governor general and 201 
German officers and 3,841 noncommissioned officers and men. 

The casualties on both sides, considering the length of the siege 
and the intensity of the gunfire in both directions, were remark- 
ably small. The Japanese had 236 killed and 1,282 wounded, the 
British had 12 killed and 63 wounded, including two officers. 
The Germans estimated their losses in killed and wounded at 
about 1,000 men. To the Allies' losses must be added 10 killed 
and 56 wounded, all Japanese, by the explosion of Gerp^an land 
mines several days after the surrender. 




THE first shots of the Great War had hardly detonated across 
Europe when their echoes were heard in Africa. The war 
fever began to hover over Germany's colonial possessions in 
Africa — Togoland, the Cameroons, German Southwest Africa, 
and, greatest of all, German East Africa. Each of these colonies 
became in turn the scene of armed invasions and fierce conflicts, 
as important to the small forces involved as the great campaigns 
on the continent across the seas. 

When Great Britain declared war on Germany on August 4, 
1914, and the news flashed across the world to the official repre- 
sentatives of the warring nations in Africa, the British acting 
governor of the Gold Coast and the French governor of Dahomey 
planned a concerted campaign by land in cooperation with the 
warships to be found in African waters. 

The first blow was struck on August 8, 1914, in Togoland, a 
country about the size of Ireland, lying between French Dahomey 
and the British Gold Coast. It is populated by a million Hausas 
and about 400 whites. At the beginning of the war the military 
force of Togoland could not have exceeded 250 whites and 3,000 
natives. Hemmed in on three sides by French and British terri- 
tory, with a coast line easily approached by warships, the colonj'' 
was not in a position to offer much resistance if attacked. 

On August 8, 1914, a British cruiser appeared before Lome, 
the capital of Togoland, and the town was surrendered without 



a shot being fired. But before the British force landed, the little 
German army of about 60 Europeans and 400 natives fell back to 
Atakpame, 100 miles in the interior. 

While this was happening at Lome an expeditionary force 
composed of the Gold Coast Regiment, with British officers and 
commanded by Captain F. C. Bryant, R. A., crossed the frontier 
in motor cars on August 8, or 9, 1914, and a French force en- 
tered Togoland from the other side. A few days later the Allieip 
had possession of all the southern part of Togoland, and advanced 
together toward Atakpame to capture an important German 
wireless station at Kamina in the same region. 

The only real fighting in this campaign took place on August 
25, 1914, when Captain Bryant and his forces had crossed the 
Monu River. The Allies drove the enemy from his intrench- 
ments, seized the wireless station, and occupied Atakpame. 
Their losses were two officers and 21 men killed and about 50 

On August 26, 1914, the Germans surrendered unconditionally, 
and the Allies came into possession of three Maxim guns, 1,000 
rifles and 320,000 rounds of ammunition. It was stated at the 
time that the Germans offered such a feeble resistance because 
many natives, on whom they had counted, refused to take up 
arms against the British. 

Togoland having fallen to the Allies, it was arranged between 
the officials of Great Britain and France that the colony should be 
jointly governed, each to control that part of Togoland nearest 
her possessions. In a few months' time normal trade was re- 
sumed in the Allies* colony, and since private property had been 
respected during the invasion, there was nothing left to show that 
the country had recently been the scene of small but decisive con- 
flicts, far-reaching in their effects. 

The action in the African war drama now shifts to the Came- 
roons (German Kamerun Colony) , which Germany took posses- 
sion of in 1884. It has a seacoast of about 200 miles on the Bight 
of Biafra. To the northeast and south are the British Protec- 
torate of Nigeria and French Equatorial Africa. The country is 
largely mountainous and is 290,000 square miles in extent. Be- 

- ^ - 5— War St. 3 


fore the war there were less than 2,000 whites among a popula- 
tion of 2,500,000 negroes, principally of the Bantu race. 

The Cameroons, though surrounded by territory of the Allies, 
was a more difficult country to conquer than Togoland, owing to 
its natural advantages and the difficulties of communication over 
great distances. The first moves of the Allies met with disaster. 
It was in the African rainy season and misadventures multiplied 
as the invading troops marched through a wild and badly mapped 
country. It was decided between the Allies that two French col- 
umns should move from French Congo, while British columns en- 
tered at different points on the frontier of Nigeria. 

On August 8, 1914, a detachment of mounted infantry of the 
West African Frontier Force left Kano and, marching 400 miles 
in seventeen days through West Africa, got in touch with the 
Germans at Tepe, a frontier station just inside the Cameroons. 
In the fierce engagement that followed the Germans were re- 
pulsed, losing five officers and suffering other casualties. 

On August 29, 1914, the river station of Garua was attacked, 
and here one of the most disastrous battles of the campaign was 
fought. On August 31, 1914, Lieutenant Colonel Maclear, com- 
manding the Royal Dublin Fusiliers and native troops, left their 
intirenchments 400 yards from the German forts and advanced to 
attack. The German gunners having perfect range, poured a 
murderous fire from machine guns on the British forces. The 
native troops wavered and fled, leaving British officers in the 
trenches, and these in turn were soon forced to fly to escape com- 
plete annihilation. Lieutenant Colonel Maclear was killed, and 
of the 31 other officers only 10 escaped, while 40 per cent of the 
native troops were lost. The remainder of the British force re- 
treated into Nigeria in such an exhausted condition that had the 
Germans followed up their victory not a man would have escaped. 

The second British expedition which entered the Cameroons 
from a more westerly point along the Nigerian frontier occupied, 
after slight resistance, the German station of Nsanakong a few 
miles from the border, where a week later the Germans attacked 
in force at two o^clock in the morning. The British resisted stub- 
bornly, but, having exhausted their ammunition, the garrison 



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tried to cut their way out with the bayonet. The British lost 
three officers, while large numbers of native soldiers were killed 
or made prisoners. The remainder, escaping to the bush, after 
many hardships found their way back to Nigeria. Another Brit- 
ish expedition from Calabar, near the coast, occupied Archibong, 
August 29, 1914, while about the same time a German force took 
possession of the Nigerian station of Okuri. 

The British had failed by land ; they were more successful on 
the sea, as will be seen in the chapter on Naval Operations. On 
September 4, 1914, an attempt was made by the Germans to 
wreck the British gunboat Dwarf, which with the cruiser Cum- 
berland was watching German ships in the Cameroon estuary. 
The German merchantman Nachtigal tried later to ram the same 
gunboat and wrecked herself with a loss of 36 men. Further 
attempts to destroy the Dwarf also failed. 

The British now taking the offensive cleared the channel for 
three miles, where the Germans had sown mines and sunk 10 or 
12 steamboats to obstruct the waterway to Duala, the capital of 
the Cameroons. H.M.S. Challenger and five troopships joined 
the Dwarf and Cumberland on September 26, 1914, and, moving 
on Duala, bombarded the town. 

On September 27, 1914, the Germans offered to surrender Duala 
unconditionally, and on September 28, 1914, Brigadier General 
C. M. Dobell came ashore and took it over. About the same time 
a battalion landing at Bonaberi, across the river from Duala, 
capitulated after some desultory fighting. The wireless station at 
Duala was found to have been wrecked, but the British took sev- 
eral hundred prisoners, captured 8 merchantmen with valuable 
cargoes and the German gunboat Soden, which was at once put 
into commission in the British navy. While the British were 
successful around Duala, a French force by sea from Libreville, 
French Congo, escorted by their warship Surpris, attacked 
Ukoko on Corisco Bay, south of the Cameroons, during which the 
armed vessels Khios and Itolo were sunk. 

The Allies had captured the chief port and controlled the coast, 
but the most difficult work lay before them in the mountainous 
and almost roadless region still to be conquered. The retreating 


Germans occupied a defensive position on a river at Japona, where 
on October 8, 1914, a French column came up with them, forced 
a bridge, and compelled them to continue their retreat. 

On October 8, 1914, Colonel E. H. Gorges, commanding a Brit- 
ish naval and military force and four field guns, sailed up the 
Wuri in launches and found the enemy intrenched near Jabassi. 
The British made a spirited attack, but were driven back by the 
accurate fire of the enemy. After a flank attack failed, the order 
was given to retreat, and the British returned to Duala. 

The Allies reenforced, and with two 6-inch guns resumed the 
attack on October 14, 1914, when the German batteries were 
soon silenced. After a brisk engagement the infantry occupied 
Jabassi, taking ten European prisoners. Minor successes won 
by the Allies at this time were the defeat of the Germans at Susa, 
and the occupation of the region around Mora, near Lake Chad 
by a Nigerian Regiment which had entered the colony from the 

Two columns of Anglo-French troops under Brigadier General 
Dobell^ with Colonel Mayer commanding the French colonial in- 
fantry, followed the retreating Germans to Edea on the Sanaga 
River, some fifty miles from Duala. Part of the road led through 
a thick forest where snipers were concealed, who harassed the 
expedition at every step and were dislodged with great difficulty. 

On October 26, 1914, Edea was taken without resistance, and the 
enemy retired to Yaunde, a station far in the interior. Mujuka, 
a station about fifty miles from Duala, was occupied by the 
British a few weeks later. 

Early in November, 1914, General Dobell planned an attack on 

le German capital of Buea, and its seaport Victoria. The latter 

)lace was bombarded by the French cruiser Bruix and the yacht 

llvy; marines were landed, and after a short and spirited fight it 

[was taken, while the enemy, who had concentrated on the hills 

leading to Buea, were scattered by the Allies' forces advancing 

:rom different directions. 

The Germans made a determined effort to regain Edea, but 
'^ere forced to retire with a loss of 20 Europeans and 54 natives. 
Meanwhile, in the hinterland, the French General, Aymerich, 


with a force of men and a steamer loaned by the authorities of 
the Belgian Congo drove the enemy from the Congo-Ubanghi 
region, which had been given to Germany in 1911. After two 
days of strenuous fighting the German posts of Numen and Nola 
were taken, and some officers, guns, and ammunition. 

The greatest campaign in December, 1914, was the capture of 
the entire northern railway line, with rolling stock, locomotives, 
two aeroplanes, and about sixty white men. Mendawi, Bare, and 
Nkongsamba were other posts taken at this period. 

At the close of the year the Cameroons were not conquered, 
but the Germans had been driven into the interior, could not 
secure supplies, and it was only a question of time when they 
must surrender or be annihilated. The allied forces were con- 
stantly harrying their enemy. 

The Allies' next movement was an advance in three columns 
against Yaunde, where they fought two little battles January 27- 
28, 1915, and seized the post of Bersona. Near the coast some 
important operations were successful. 



GERMAN Southwest Africa, to which we will now turn, was in 
a different situation at the outbreak of the war from that of 
the German colonies of the east and west. Over the frontier was 
a self-governing dominion, the Union of South Africa, with an 
independent parliament made up of a strange mixture of differ- 
ent parties. The irreconcilables in the Dutch population who had 
dreamed of a greater Afrikander Republic, would they not take 
this opportunity to side with Germany who promised to further 
their ambitions ? Great Britain expected some trouble from this 
element in the Union, and prepared for the worst, while Germany 
was equally active, and there was much intriguing to persuade 


the Dutch to cast in their lot with them. In other parts of Africa, 
Germany had to fight her battles unaided, but here in the enemy's 
camp there was every hope of gaining powerful assistance. 
Until the situation in the Union became clear, it was Germany's 
part to defend her colony in Southwest Africa, hoping by a brave 
display of arms to win over the Dutch, who were bitter against 

German Southwest Africa enjoys many natural advantages. 
Her capital is far in the interior. Between her railway on the 
south, which almost reaches the Cape frontier, and her border 
spreads out the desert of Kalahari and the arid, waterless plains 
of northwest Cape Colony. The branch railways are separated 
by about 200 miles from German territory, and on the northern 
line Kimberley was a little less than 400 miles distant. British 
forces entering the colony by land must encounter many diffi- 
culties, especially in the desert region, which the Germans left 
undefended because they believed it could not be crossed by 

Before the war, according to the official returns, the colony had 
a force of 3,500 men, mainly whites ; but with reserves and vol- 
unteers from among the population of German blood it has been 
variously estimated that an army of from 6,000 to 10,000 men 
could be gathered together. The Germans were believed to be 
strong in artillery, and were known to have sixty-six batteries of 
Maxims. There was also a camel corps 500 strong. 

After the declaration of war in August, 1914, Dr. Seitz, the 
German Governor, began to carry out his plan of defense. In 
the second week of August, 1914, the Germans abandoned 

ISwakopmund and Luderitz Bay, their principal stations on the 
coast, and after destroying the jetty and tugs in harbor, retired 
[With their military stores to Windhoek, the inland capital. In the 
last weeks in August they made short dashes into British terri- 
tory, intrenching themselves in some places, and occasionally en- 
gaged in a skirmish with farmers on the frontier. 

Thus, when the Union Parliament met September 8, 1914, it 
was informed by General Botha, the Premier, that Germany had 
begun hostilities against the British colonies. On the following 


day, as a challenge to the pro-German party, he moved a resolu- 
tion to convey to King George an address, assuring him of the 
loyal support of the Union. Upon this General Hertzog moved an 
amendment to the effect that attacking German territory in South 
Africa was against the interests of the Union and the empire. 
But the victory was with General Botha's Government when the 
questions were voted on. Only 12 of the 104 votes cast were in 
favor of Hertzog's amendment. 

It was evident that many burghers living in districts on the 
borders of German Southwest Africa shared Hertzog's opinion, 
and were opposed to taking offensive measures against the Ger- 
man colony as long as the Union was left in peace. From the 
time that Hertzog had been dropped from Botha's cabinet he had 
posed as a martyr. His adherents believed that he had been 
"sacrificed to please the English," and that Botha was merely a 
tool in the hands of the British Government. 

The spirit of rebellion in the Union did not show itself openly 
for some time, but the leaders — Beyers, De Wet, Maritz, and 
Kemp — ^were busy conspiring and stirring up disaffection 
among the burghers who had never become reconciled to the 

De Wet, because of his world-wide fame during the Boer War, 
has been given undue prominence for the part he played in 
the rebellion. He was not the head and front of the move- 
ment, though his name was one to conjure with among the 
disaffected Boers, and he proved to be a valuable recruiting 
agent. His operations during the rebellion, as will be subse- 
quently shown, were generally ineffective in the field, and ter- 
minated ingloriously, before he could work any great harm. 

General Beyers, the most dangerous foe the Union had in the 
rebellion, was a direct contrast to the rude and unlettered De 
Wet. He was young and brave, and had shown himself one of the 
ablest soldiers the British had to fight against during the Boer 
War. He looked the dashing officer that he was — ^tall, straight, 
black bearded, and with his pleasant manners and easy speech 
he was just the man to inspire enthusiasm in others. 

Colonel Maritz and Colonal Kemp, the other chief leaders in the 


rebellion, had never been as prominent in South African affairs 
as Beyers and De Wet. Maritz had shown ability as a leader in 
the Boer War, had held various military positions since, and at 
the beginning of the European War was in command of the 
South African border between the Union and German Southwest 
Africa, to which he had been appointed by Beyers, who was 
commandant general of the citizen forces. General Smuts, the 
Minister of Defense, may have suspected some sinister motives 
in this appointment, for Maritz had many friends in the German 
colony, but for the present he had to keep his suspicions to him- 
self and await some overt act of offense. 

Colonel Kemp, the remaining chief leader, had never done any- 
thing to give him special prominence. He had proved himself an 
efficient soldier during the Boer War, and appears to have been 
in command of a training camp in the western Transvaal when 
the rebellion was started. 

Under these four leaders, acting independently, or in conjunc- 
tion with them, were subleaders, an indefinite number, members 
of the Government, and men connected with the church and army, 
whose part in the rebellion was to stir up the people. 

An interesting character among the somewhat nebulous sub- 
leaders in the rebellion was Van Rensburg, sometimes called 
"Prophet" Lichtenberg, from the place where he lived. During 
the Boer War he had predicted a remarkable victory for the 
Boers, which had resulted in the capture of Lord Metiiuen, and 
ever since the burghers of the Union had held him in reverential 
awe. When the war with Germany broke out he made various 
prophecies. He discovered that the events foretold in the Book 
of Revelation would now take place. Germany, he said, had 
been divinely ordained to conquer the world and purify it. Any 
attempt to resist this divine ordinance would be punished by the 
righteous anger of an offended deity. Nor was the "prophet'* for- 
getful of local politics, for he had another "vision" in which he 
predicted that Generals Delarey, Beyers, and De Wet were 
divinely appointed leaders, who would restore the old republic. 
These "prophecies" were spread broadcast throughout the Union^ 
were eagerly believed by the superstitious burghers, and served 


to hearten up the disaffected who had some grudge against the 

A great meeting of the burghers was summoned to meet 
August 15, 1914, at Treurfontein. This date had been fixed be- 
cause Van Rensburg in a "vision" had seen "a dark cloud, with 
blood flowing from it, inscribed with number 15, and General 
Delarey, the uncrowned king of western Transvaal, returning 
home without his hat, followed by a carriage full of flowers." 
Eight hundred burghers attended the meeting, but Delarey, who 
spoke, had been warned by General Botha, and therefore spoke 
calmly, urging the burghers to remain cool and await events. 
Such was Delarey's influence over the assembly, who had come 
expecting to make a fiery speech, that a resolution expressing 
confidence in the Government was passed. 

On September 15, 1914, General Christian Beyers resigned 
his position of commandant general of the defense force in a 
letter which was practically a declaration of war against the 
British Empire. It developed that for some weeks he had been 
organizing rebellion. He was secretly arranging a scheme of 
operations in which the German forces were to take part, while 
making plans for the Union Government. He hoped to win over 
General Delarey, leader of the Boers in the western Transvaal,] 
but this officer was accidentally killed by the police near Johan- 
nesburg. The patrol out looking for the notorious Jackson gan| 
of bandits, then in the neighborhood, had orders to examine anj 
motor car and fire at once, if when summoned to stop their chal- 
lenge was ignored. The car bearing Generals Beyers and Delare] 
had been twice challenged while passing through the town. Th< 
third time a policeman fired at the wheel to disable the car, an< 
the bullet ricocheted and killed Delarey. 

A thousand armed Boers at this time were encamped a1 
Potchefstroom in Delarey's district. Colonel Kemp, who ha( 
sent in his resignation to the Union Government, and was work- 
ing here for Delarey, had won over their officers, and on parade} 
urged the men to refuse to volunteer for German Southwest 
Africa. He also collected in his tent such ammunition as he coul( 
lay his hands upon. 


The death of General Delarey disconcerted General Beyers, 
and his fellow conspirators, and Colonel Kemp withdrew his 
resignation from the Union army. Over the grave of Delarey 
General Beyers, in the presence of General Botha, declared that 
he had no intention of advising or causing a rebellion, yet the 
following day, with General De Wet and others, he was urging 
the Boers who had come to the funeral of their dead leader to 
revolt against active service should the commandos be called 
out under the Defense Act. 

Botha knew the men who were stirring up rebellion and acted 
quickly. He called for volunteers, announcing that he would 
lead in person the Union forces against the Germans, and the 
immediate response he received was gratifying. The conspira- 
tors remained quiet for some weeks, but General Beyers and De 
Wet were secretly at work against the Government of the Union. 

On September 26, 1914, Colonel Grant and a small force of 
African Rifles and Transvaal Horse Artillery operating at Sand- 
fontein near the German border were trapped by two German 
battalions while on their way to a water hole. From the heights 
the German guns swept the circular basin below where the Union 
force was gathered. The advantage was all in favor of the 
Germans. High explosive shells from ten guns wrought havoc 
among the South African soldiers, but not until their ammunition 
ran out and every man of their gun crews was either killed or 
wounded would the little band of Boers and Britons surrender. 
It developed later that Lieutenant Colonel S. G. Maritz, a Boer 
leader commanding Union forces in the Northwest territory, 
had turned traitor and arranged the disaster. It was through 
General Beyers that he had been appointed to an important com* 
mand on the German border. 

Maritz who was now ordered by General Smuts, Minister of 
Defense, to report to headquarters and give up his command, 
sent a defiant reply October 8, 1914. He stated that in addition 
to his own troops he had German guns and men, and had signed 
an agreement with the Governor of Southwest Africa ceding 
Walfish Bay (a British possession) and certain portions of 
Union territory in return for a guarantee of the independence 


of the South African Republic. All his officers and men who 
were unwilling to join with him had been sent as prisoners into 
German territory. 

General Botha replied to the rebel by proclaiming martial 
law throughout the Union. General Brits, with the imperial 
Light Horse, was sent to capture Maritz, and in an engagement 
October 15, 1914, at Ratedraai, near Upington, took seventy 
rebel prisoners. 

On October 22, 1914, Maritz with 1,000 rebels and seventy 
German gunners, attacked at dawn the post of Keimos, where 
there were only 150 loyalists. The little garrison held out until 
reenf orcements arrived and the battle then turned against Maritz, 
who offered to surrender for a free pardon. This being refused, 
the fight went on, and Maritz eventually fled wounded into Ger- 
man territory. Two days later a party of rebels with German 
gunners were defeated at Kakamas. 

General Hertzog, who had represented the pro-German party 
in the Union Parliament, gathered a commando and broke out 
in revolt on October 21, 1914. He issued a manifesto complain- 
ing of English oppression, and announced that he would tolerate 
it no longer. Three members of the Union Parliament and a 
member of the Defense Council, Mr. Wessel-Wessels, came out 
in arms. In the western Transvaal and the northern Free State 
the rebel leaders had about 10,000 men in separate groups. 
Their plan was to join their commandos with a force under 
Maritz from German Southwest Africa. 

The situation from a military point of view seemed to be 
serious for the Union, but Generals Botha and Smuts w^ere 
active and resourceful and in a few weeks had 40,000 men in 
the field. The loyal Boers were in a difficult position, for now 
they were asked to fight against their own kith and kin for the 
British Empire. In battle the Dutch generals showed that they 
were anxious to spare their own kinsmen, and ordered their men 
to withhold firing to the last moment, hoping that the rebels 
would surrender. The rebels were not allowed time to join 
their forces, for General Botha gave them no rest night or day. 

On October 27, 1914, General Beyers and his commando 


operating near Rustenburg were driven in headlong flight all 
day long by General Botha and a force of loyalists. Two days 
later General Beyers was a fugitive. His scattered commandos 
were defeated by Colonel Alberts at Lichtenburg and again at 
Zuitpansdrift on November 5, 1914. Meanwhile, Colonel Kemp, 
who had been acting with General Beyers, now separated from 
his chief, and with a large force started for German Southwest 
Africa, pursued by Colonel Alberts. Beyers, trying to get in 
touch with De Wet, entered the Orange Free State, closely fol- 
lowed by a large loyalist force under Colonel Lemmer. 

On November 7, 1914, Beyers's commando was attacked by 
Lemmer near the Vet River and though Beyers led in person, 
he was defeated, and, 364 of his men being captured and about 
20 killed or wounded, the fugitive remnant returned to Hoopstad. 
De Wet, whom General Beyers had been prevented from join- 
ing by the activity of the loyalist forces, had gathered together 
in the northern districts of the Orange Free State a poorly 
organized body of soldiers, but sufficient in numbers to cause 
the South African Government some anxiety. Negotiations 
between the Free State leaders and De Wet postponed for a 
time any military action by the Government, but the old guerrilla 
captain was not to be pacified. There had been a rivalry between 
him and Botha in the Boer war, and he seemed anxious to 
measure strength now with a soldier whom he considered his 

De Wet*s name was a power in the land, especially among 
the "poor whites" and the squatter class, who without much 
intelligence or education had not prospered under new conditions 
in the Union. They were without hope for the future and felt 
that they were being crowded out by the more active spirits in 
the country. They saw in the rebellion a chance to improve 
their economic position. There was little to lose and much 
might be won. A new Afrikander Republic would bring back 
the old days for which they had never ceased to long for. It 
was from this class of malcontents that De Wet drew the bulk 
of his men. The rest were religious fanatics, disgruntled 
politicians, wastrels and adventurers. 


We have said previously that De Wet's recruits were poorly 
organized. It was a weakness of this brilliant guerrilla fighter 
that he could not maintain discipline when handling a large 
body of men, and the sort of troops he was working with in 
the rebellion called for the sternest kind of authority to make 
them effective soldiers. He only enjoyed a month of free- 
dom and covered considerable territory, but he accomplished 
very little from a military point of view. He could not follow 
the same tactics that he had employed in the Boer war with 
equal success now. At home on the back of a horse, it was 
impossible for him to slip through the enemy's lines as of old 
when there were motor cars to pursue. He began his campaign 
with an action at Winburg where he defeated a small loyalist 
commando under Cronje, and where one of his sons was killed. 

A battle of considerable importance was fought on November 
12, 1914, at Marquard to the east of Winburg. General Botha 
and his Transvaal commando by a forced night march had 
reached Winburg the day before and getting in touch with De 
Wet's forces encircled them on the east and northeast. Colonel 
Brandt at the same time led his commando from Winburg within 
easy reach of De Wet, while General Lukin and Colonel Brits 
moving forward from the west completed the hemming in of the 
enemy. General Botha's commando attacked De Wet's forces 
sand defeated them with great loss. If General Lukin and 
Colonel Brits had not been delayed in taking up their positions 
all the rebels would have been captured. The victory was 
especially of far-reaching importance because it discouraged De 
Wet's hopes and strengthened the loyalist cause. All of De 
Wet's stores of food and ammunition were taken, and a hundred 
carts, wagons and motor cars, while the prisoners numbered 
about 250. 

De Wet, with a Boer commando in pursuit, now fled up the 
Vet River, then turning south at Boshof , divided his decreasing 
force into two divisions. Leading one of these he turned again 
north, reaching the Vaal River with only 25 men remaining of 
the 2,000 he had fought with at Marquard. 

Beaten back by a loyal outpost he succeeded in crossing the 


Vaal on November 21, 1914, closely pursued by Commandant 
Dutoit and a motor car contingent from Witwatersrand. De 
Wet's followers had gradually deserted, and he had only four 
men with him when he succeeded in joining a small commando of 
fugitives gathered at Schweizer Renek. The heavy rainstorms 
at this time favored him as he started with this force to follow 
Colonel Kemp and join Maritz in German Southwest Africa, 
for the motor cars in pursuit could make small progress over 
the heavy roads. Crossing Bechuanaland on November 25, 1914, 
De Wet was pursued by another loyalist force under Colonel 
Brits who in two days captured half of the fugitives. 

On December 1, 1914, at a farm at Waterburg, about a hundred 
miles from Mafeking, De Wet and his party of 52 men sur- 
rendered to Colonel Jordaan without firing a shot, and the one- 
time Commander in Chief of the Orange Free State forces was 
imprisoned at Johannesburg to await his trial for high treason. 

In the Orange Free State, General Beyers and about seventy 
men harried by loyal commandos divided his party, and leading 
one group made a dash for the Vaal River pursued by Captain 
Uys and Cornet Deneker with a small force. Trapped at day- 
break on December 9, 1914, near the Vaal, Beyers and a few 
men tried to swim the river to the Transvaal under a fierce fire. 
Beyers was seen to fall from his horse, and was heard to cry 
for help, but was drowned before anyone could come to- the 

General Botha's operations in the northern district of the 
Orange Free State were made difficult because of the heavy fogs, 
but early in December, 1914, the rebels were in sore straits, 500 
being captured while 200 surrendered to Commandant Kloppers 
a loyalist, who had been taken a prisoner and was afterwards 

General Maritz, Colonel Kemp, and the "Prophet" Litchten- 
burg had fled west, and after some fighting at Kurumun, and 
two minor successes, surprising two posts at Langklip and 
Onydas which they were forced to abandon on the arrival of 
reenforcements, they retired toward the German frontier where 
they were penned in by the Union forces. 


On January 24, 1915, the rebels made their last sally, attacking: 
Colonel Van der Venter at Upington. The rebel force, about 1,200 
strong and led by Maritz and Kemp, was easily repulsed. On 
February 3, 1915, Maritz, having fled to German territory, 
Colonel Kemp and his commando of 43 officers and 486 men in- 
cluding the "Prophet" Lichtenburg surrendered. 




llllll Illllllllll* 




DURING the greater part of the winter of 1914-15, the fighting 
along the western front had been almost constant, but had 
resulted in little that either side could justly assert to be a suc- 
cess. The rigors inevitable in such a mode of wa,rfare had be- 
come almost beyond human endurance, and commanders on both 
sides looked forward to a more active campaign. 

An immense amount of ammunition had been stored by the 
French in and around Perthes in anticipation of a forward 
movement ; and, by the second week of February, a quarter of a 
n/illion men of the French army had been assembled near that 
place. They were opposite a section of the German trenches 
which was about twelve miles long, extending from Ville-sur- 
Tourbe in the Argonne to the village of Souain. Early in the year 
this section had been held by only two divisions of Rhinelanders. 
These two divisions had suffered severely from the heavy gun 
fire which the French had directed against them by means of the 
successful work of the French aviators. The French infantry 
also had done effective work in the short rush which they had 
been making, gaining on an average about twelve yards a day. 
Following the concentration of French troops, the German com- 
manders brought up reenforcements to the number of 80,000. 
Some of these were taken from La Bassee, and others from a con- 
tingent which had been intended for a northern offensive move- 

Because of the chalk formation of the soil in this section of the 
front, the excessive moisture of this season of the year drained 

79 6— War St. 3 


rapidly, leaving exposed an undulating section on which were 
small forests of fir trees. The nature of the ground made it an 
easy matter to move troops even in winter. General Joffre took 
advantage of this fact, and assembled a quarter of a million men 
against the German lines in Champagne. This caused the Ger- 
man commanders to mass troops just in front of Perthes. The 
concentration continued until there were 220,000 German sol- 
diers packed there in close formation. The French attacked, and 
quickly a rain of more than a hundred thousand shells fell upon 
the Germans. 

The Germans sought to reply by bringing up twenty-two bat- 
teries of heavy guns and sixty-four field batteries ; but the French 
gunners kept command of the field. In the twenty days* battle — 
from February 16 to March 7, 1915 — ^the French won scarcely a 
mile of ground ; but they found and buried 10,000 German dead. 
The French staff estimated that 60,000 German soldiers had been 
put out of action. The German staff admitted they had lost more 
men in this action than in the campaign in East Prussia against 
the Russians, where fourteen German army corps were engaged. 
The French lost less than 10,000 men. 

In the last week of February, 1915, it had been learned by 
General Joffre that General von Falkenhayn of the German forces 
had withdrawn from Neuve Chapelle, and the section north of 
La Bassee six batteries of field artillery, six battalions of the 
Prussian Guard, and two heavy batteries of the Prussian Guard. 
These had been withdrawn for the purpose of checking the sup- 
posed French advance at Perthes, as already narrated. Hence 
it was known that the English, in command of Sir Douglas Haig, 
at Neuve Chapelle, were opposed by a thin line of German troops 
who were making a demonstration of force for the purpose of 
concealing the weakness of their line. 

The British officers in the region of Neuve Chapelle received 
complete instructions on March 8, 1915, in regard to an offensive 
which they were to start on the 10th. These instructions were 
supplemental to a communication which had been sent on Febru- 
ary 19 by the British commander in chief to Sir Douglas Haig, the 
commander of the First Army. Neuve Chapelle was to be the 








immediate objective of the prospective engagement. This place is 
about four miles north of La Bassee at the junction of main roads, 
one leading southward to La Bassee, and another from Bethune 
on the west to Armentieres on the northeast. It is about eleven 
miles west of Lille. These roads formed an irregular diamond- 
shaped figure with the village at the apex of the eastern sides, 
along which the German troops were stationed. The British held 
the western sides of this figure. 

The land in this part of France is marshy and crossed by 
dykes ; but, to the eastward, the ground rises slowly to a ridge, on 
the western border of which are two spurs. Aubers is at the 
apex of one ; and lilies at the apex of the other. Both of these 
villages were held by the Germans. The ridge extends north- 
east, beyond the junction of the spurs, from Fournes to within 
two miles southwest of Lille. Along the ridge is the road to 
Lille, Roubaix, and Tourcoing, all of which are among the chief 
manufacturing towns of France. The occupation of the ridge 
was a necessary step to the taking of Lille ; and Neuve Chapelle 
was at the gateway to the ridge. If the Allies could take Lille 
they would then be in a position to move against their enemy be- 
tween that point and the sea. 

The River Des Layes runs behind Neuve Chapelle to the south- 
east ; and, behind the river, a half mile from the straggling vil- 
lage, is a wood known as the Bois du Biez. Almost at right 
angles to the river, on the west, the main road from Estaires to 
La Bassee skirts Neuve Chapelle. There is a triangle of roads 
north of the village where there were a few large houses with 
walls, gardens, and orchards. At this point the Germans had 
fortified themselves to flank the approaches to the village from 
that section. These trenches were only about a hundred yards 
from those of the British. The Germans had machine guns at & 
bridge over the river ; and they had another post established a 
little farther up at the Pietre mill. Farther down the stream, 
where the road into the village joins the main road to La Bassee, 
the Germans had fortified a group of ruined buildings which was 
known as Port Arthur. From there was a great network of 
trenches which extended northwestward to the Pietre mill. There 


were also German troops in the Bois du Biez, and in the ruined 
houses along the border of the wood. 

The German trenches were in excellent positions, but were oc- 
cupied by only a comparatively few soldiers ; it was the German 
plan to keep large bodies of troops in reserve, so that they might 
be sent to any sector where the need seemed most likely. They 
have asserted they had only four battalions in the front line here ; 
but that statement is denied by the British. 

The British plan of attack embraced a heavy bombardment to 
demoralize their enemy and prevent reenforcement. This was to 
be followed by an infantry attack. It was expected that the Ger- 
mans would be surprised to such an extent it would be impossible 
for them to make much resistance. Units of the First Army were 
to make the main attack, supported by the Second Army. The 
support included a division of cavalry. Among the large force of 
heavy artillery for the opening bombardment were a number of 
French guns manned by French artillerymen. 



THREE hundred and fifty guns at short range began a most 
terrific bombardment March 10, 1915, at 7.30 a. m. It is said 
that the discharges of the artillery was so frequent that it seemed 
as if some gigantic machine gun was in action. Shortly after this 
bombardment started, the German trenches were covered by a 
great cloud of smoke and dust and a pall of green lyddite fumes. 
The first line of German trenches, against which the fire was di- 
rected, became great shapeless furrows and craters filled with 
the dead and^ dying. 

This was the condition all along the line except on the extreme 
northern end where the artillery fire was less effective, owing, it 
was said, to a lack of proper preparation by the British staff. 
This terrific artillery fire was continued for thirty-five minutes ; 


and then the range was changed from the first line of German 
trenches to the village of Neuve Chapelle itself. Thereupon the 
British infantry advanced and made prisoners of the few Ger- 
mans left alive in the first line. The men found unwounded were 
so dazed by the onslaught which the guns had made upon their 
position that they offered no resistance. The bombardment had 
swept away the wire entanglements ; and the British had only the 
greasy mud with which to contend, when they made their dash 

Where the wire entanglements had been swept away, the 
Second Lincolnshire and the Berkshire regiments were the first 
to reach the German trenches. These regiments then turned to 
the right and left, and thus permitted the Royal Irish Rifles and 
the Rifle Brigade to go on toward the village. 

In order to understand the infantry attack in detail it is neces- 
sary to know the manner in which the British troops were dis- 
tributed before they made their dash at the ruined trenches of 
the Germans. Two brigades of the Eighth Division, the Twenty- 
fifth to the right and the Twenty-third to the left, were due west 
of Neuve Chapelle. On a front a mile and a half long to the 
south of them was the Meerut Division, supported by the Lahore 
Division. The Garhwal Brigade was on the left and the Dehra 
Dun Brigade was on its right. In the first attack the Twenty- 
third dashed to the northeast comer of the village, the Twenty- 
fifth against the village itself ; and the Garhwal Brigade charged 
on the southwest corner. 

The trenches opposite the Twenty-fifth were taken with prac- 
tically no fighting. The Germans who had manned them were 
either killed or too dazed to offer resistance. As has already 
been told, the Second Royal Berkshires and the Second Lincolns 
took the first line of trenches in front of them, and opened the 
middle of their line to permit the Second Rifle Brigade and the 
First Irish Rifles to dash on to the village. The British artillery 
range was lengthened, thereby preventing the German supports 
from interference with the well-defined plan of the British. 
Into the wrecked streets of Neuve Chapelle swung two battal- 
ions of the Twenty-fifth Brigade. The few of their enemy who 



offered resistance were soon overpowered — being captured or 

These men of the Twenty-fifth Brigade found terrible scenes of 
destruction. The village had been knocked literally into a rubbish 
heap. Even the dead in the village churchyard had been plowed 
from their graves by the terrific bombardment. 

The Garhwal Brigade captured the first line of trenches on the 
right, and the Third Gurkhas, on the southern outskirts of the 
village, met the Rifle Brigade. Then it dashed on to the Bois du 
Biez, passing another rubbish heap which once had been the 
hamlet known as Port Arthur. 

The attack on the left, however, resulted less successfully for 
the British forces. As indicated above, the preparation for the 
bombardment at this part of the line had been inadequate for the 
purpose which the general in command had sought to achieve. 
Thus on the northeast corner of Neuve Chapelle the German 
trenches and the wire entanglements in front of them had been 
damaged but little. The British forces on this part of the line 
included the Second Devons, the Second West Yorks, the Second 
Scottish Rifles, and the Second Middlesex, known as the Twenty- 
third Brigade. The Scottish Rifles charged against intact wire 
entanglements which halted them in the range of a murderous 
rifle and machine-gun fire. With daring bravery the Scots sought 
to tear down the wire with their hands; but were forced to fall 
back and lie in the fire-swept zone until one company forced its 
way through an opening and destroyed the barrier. The regi- 
ment, as a result of this mishap to the plans of the commanding 
general, lost its commander. Colonel Bliss, and fourteen other 

The Middlesex, on the right, met with the same obstruction 
nd lost many of its men and officers while waiting for the British 
artillery to smash a way through for them. This the artillery 
did when word had been carried back telling of the plight of the 

The Twenty-fifth Brigade, to the south, had the good fortune 
to turn the flank of the Germans north of Neuve Chapelle. Then 
the entire Twenty-third Brigade forced its way to the orchard 


northeast of the village, where it met the Twenty-fourth Brigade, 
which included the First Worcesters, Second East Lancashires, 
First Sherwood Foresters, and the Second Northamptons. The 
Twenty-fourth Brigade had fought its way through from the 
Neuve Chapelle-Armentieres road. As soon as this had been 
accomplished by the British, their artillery proceeded to send 
such a rain of shrapnel fire between the village and the Germans 
that a counterattack was quite impossible. This gave the victors 
an opportunity to intrench themselves practically at their leisure. 
The plans of the British commander had embraced a forward 
movement when the troops had reached this point, but they had 
not included a means of keeping communication with the various 
units intact. The telegraph and telephone wires had been cut by 
the shot and shell of both sides ; and there was no opportunity to 
repair them until it was too late to take advantage of the de- 
moralization of the Germans. Moreover, the delay of the Twenty- 
third Brigade had so disarranged the plans of the British that it 
is doubtful if they would not have failed in part even if the means 
of communication had not been destroyed. Nevertheless, Sir 
John French wrote : "I am of the opinion that this delay would 
not have occurred had the clearly expressed orders of the general 
officer commanding the First Army been more carefully ob- 

There was also an additional delay in bringing up the reserves 
of the Fourth Corps. Thus it was not until 3.30 p. m. that three 
brigades of the Seventh Division, the Twentieth, Twenty-first, 
and Twenty-second Brigades were in their places on the left of 
the Twenty-fourth Brigade. Then the left moved southward 
toward Aubers. At the same time the Indian Corps, composed of 
the Garhwal Brigade and the Dehra Dun Brigade, forced its 
way through the Bois du Biez toward the ridge. Strong opposi- 
tion was met with to such an extent, however, that the Thirty- 
ninth Garhwals and the Second Leicesters suffered severe losses 
on reaching a German position which had practically escaped the 
heavy artillery fire. A German outpost at the bridge held the 
Dehra Dun Brigade, which was supported by the Jullundur 
Brigade of the Lahore Division, in its attack farther to the south 


on the line of the River Des Layes. The First Brigade of the 
First Corps was rushed forward by Sir Douglas Haig ; but it was 
dark before these troops arrived. Another fortified bridge, 
farther to the left, checked the Twenty-fifth Brigade; and ma- 
chine-gun fire stopped the Twenty-fourth Brigade, this fire being 
from the German troops at the crossroads northwest of Pietre 
village. The Seventh Division was held by the line of the Des 
Layes, and the defense of the Pietre mill. 

By evening the British had gone forward as far as their artil'- 
lery fire had been effective ; and it was found necessary for them 
to stop to strengthen the new line which they had estab- 
lished. They had won Neuve Chapelle. They had advanced 
a mile. They had straightened their line, but they could go 
no farther. 

On the following day, March 11, 1915, the British artillery was 
directed against the Bois du Biez and the trenches in the neigh- 
borhood of Pietre. The Germans, however, had recovered from 
the surprise of the great bombardment, and they made several 
counterattacks. Little progress was made on that day by either 
side. On that night, March 11, the Bavarian and Saxon reserves 
arrived from Tourcoing, and on the morning of March 12 the 
counterattack extended along the British front. Because of the 
heavy mist, and the lack of proper communications, it was im- 
possible for the British artillery to do much damage. The de- 
fense of the bridges across the Des Layes kept the British forces 
from the ridges and the capture of Aubers. The best that the 
British seemed to be able to do was to prevent the German 
counterattack from being successful. 

An attempt to use the British cavalry was unsuccessful on 
March 12. The Second Cavalry Division, in command of Gen- 
eral Hubert Gough, with a brigade of the North Midland Divi- 
sion, was ordered to support the infantry offensive, it being 
believed that the cavalry might penetrate the German lines. 
When the Fifth Cavalry Brigade, under command of Sir Philip 
Chetwode, arrived in the Rue Bacquerot at 4 p. m.. Sir Henry 
Rawlinson reported the German positions intact, and the 
cavalry retired to Estaires. 



I 2 





The attack of the Seventh Division against the Pietre Fort 
continued all the day of March 12, as did the attempt to take 
the Des Layes bridges from the Germans, who were valiantly 
defending their second line of trenches in the Bois du Biez. Prob- 
ably the fiercest fighting of that day fell to the lot of the Twen- 
tieth Brigade, composed of the First Grenadiers, the Second Scots 
Guards, the Second Border Regiment, and the Second Gordons, 
with the Sixth Gordons, a Territorial battalion. This brigade 
fought valiantly around Pietre Mill. Position after position was 
taken by them, but their efforts could not remain effective with- 
out the aid of artillery, which was lacking. The Second Rifle 
Brigade carried a section of the German trenches farther south 
that afternoon, but an enfilading fire drove the British back to 
their former position. 

It was evident by the night of March 12 that the British could 
not gain command of the ridge and that the Germans could not 
retake Neuve Chapelle. Hence Sir John French ordered Sir 
Douglas Haig to hold and consolidate the ground which had been 
taken by the Fourth and Indian Corps, and suspend further 
offensive operations for the present. In his report General 
French set forth that the three days' fighting had cost the Brit- 
ish 190 officers and 2,337 other ranks killed; 359 officers and 
8,174 other ranks wounded, and 23 officers and 1,728 other ranks 
missing. He claimed German losses of over 12,000. 

The British soldiers who had been engaged in the fighting 
about Neuve Chapelle spent all of March 13, 1915, in digging 
trenches in the wet meadows that border the Des Layes. On the 
following day the two corps that had fought so valiantly were 
sent back to the reserve. 

The German commanders, in the meantime, had been prepar- 
ing for a vigorous counterattack. They planned to make their 
greatest effort fifteen miles north of Neuve Chapelle, at the vil- 
lage of St. Eloi, and trained a large section of their artillery 
against a part of the British front, which was held by the 
Twenty-seventh Division. The preparation of the Germans was 
well concealed on March 14 by the heavy mist that covered the 
low country. The bombardment started at 5 p. m., the begin- 


ning of which was immediately followed by the explosion of two 
mines which were under a hillock that was a part of the British 
front at the southeast of St. Eloi. The artillery attack was fol- 
lowed by such an avalanche of German infantry that the British 
were driven from their trenches. This German success was fol- 
lowed up by the enfilading of the British lines to the right and 
left, with the result that that entire section of the British front 
was forced back. 

That night a counterattack was prepared. It was made at 
2 a. m., on March 15, by the Eighty-second Brigade, which had 
the Eightieth Brigade as its support. The Eighty-second Brigade 
drove the Germans from the village and the trenches on the east. 
The Eightieth Brigade finished the task of regaining all of the 
ground that had been lost except the crater caused by the explo- 
sion of the mines. Among the regiments that made a most envi- 
able record for themselves in this action were Princess Patricia's 
Canadian Light Infantry, the Fourth Rifle Brigade, the First 
Leinsters, the Second Cornwalls, and the Second Royal Irish 
Fusiliers. The "Princess Pat's," as the Canadian troops were 
known in the home land, were the first colonial soldiers to take 
part in a battle of such magnitude in this war. Their valor and 
their ability as fighting men were causes of great pride to the 

Before leaving the Neuve Chapelle engagement and what im- 
mediately followed it, it is well to give a brief survey of the 
actions along the line that supported it. To prevent the Ger- 
mans from taking troops from various points and massing them 
against the main British attack; the British soldiers all along 
that part of the front found plenty of work to do in their imme- 
diate vicinity. Thus, on March 10, 1915, the First Corps attacked 
the Germans from Givenchy, but there had been but little artil- 
lery fire on the part of the British there, and the wire entangle- 
ments stopped them from more than keeping the German troops 
in the position which they had held. The Second Corps, on 
March 12, was to have advanced at 10 a. m. southwest of Wyt- 
schaete. The fog that prevailed on that day, however, prevented 
a movement until 4 p. m. Then the First Wiltshires and the 


Third Worcesters of the Seventh Brigade began a movement 
which had to be abandoned when the weather thickened and 
night fell. 

The attack on L'Epinette, a hamlet southeast of Armentieres, 
was much more successful on the same day. The Seventeenth 
Brigade of the Fourth Division of the Third Corps advanced at 
noon, with the Eighteenth Brigade ^s its support. It advanced 
300 yards on a front a half mile in length, carrying the village, 
which it retained in spite of all the counterattacks. 

The work of the artillery was not confined to the main attack, 
for it was very effective in shelling the Quesnoy railway station 
east of Armentieres, where German reenforcements were board- 
ing a train for the front. The British artillery fire was effec- 
tive as far as Aubers, where it demolished a tall church spire. 

The work of the aviators, from March 10 to 12 inclusive, de- 
serves special mention. Owing to the adverse weather condi- 
tions, it was necessary for them to fly as low as from 100 to 
150 feet above the object of their attack in order to be sure of 
their aim. Nevertheless they destroyed one of the piers of the 
bridge over the Lys at Menin. This bridge carried the railroad 
over the river. They also wrecked the railway stations at Douai, 
Don, and Courtrai. The daring of the British aviators even took 
them over Lille, where they dropped bombs on one of the German 

To summarize the fighting about Neuve Chapelle, it may be 
said that the British had advanced something more than a mile 
on a three-mile front, replacing the sag which had existed in 
their line by a sag in that of the Germans. The British had 
not won the ridges which were the key to Lille, but they had 
advanced their trenches close to those ridges. The entire moral 
effect was a gain for the British ; but even that and the gain in 
advancing the front had been obtained at a too great sacrifice 
of the life of their men. The words of the Germans in char- 
acterizing the tremendous bombardment of the British were: 
"That is not war ; it is murder." 

The belief in the supposed superiority of the German artil- 
lery was so shaken in the minds of the General Staff as a result 


of the fighting on the Neuve Chapelle front that they shortly 
after issued an order to try a series of experiments on animals 
with asphyxiating gases. 



THERE was very little activity on the western front after the 
fighting at Neuve Chapelle and St. Eloi until the beginning of 
a renewal of the campaign between La Bassee and the sea. The 
importance of success in this region was appreciated by both 
sides. The Germans north of the Lys planned to cross the 
Comines-Ypres, Yperlee, and Yser Canals, capture Ypres, take 
all of the ridge of the Mont-des-Cats, and then continue west 
and take Dunkirk, Calais, and Boulogne. The Allies in their plan 
included an advance south of the Lys on two sides of Lille, the 
taking of the Aubers Ridge, and the turning from the north 
the German salient at La Bassee. This much of the Allies' plan 
was to be executed by the British. The work of the French was 
to drive the Germans from the vicinity of Lens and threaten 
La Bassee from the south and west. The reasons for making 
these plans are obvious. The German salient was a source of 
much danger to the joining of the British and French armies, 
and the possibility of the Germans forcing their way through 
to Boulogne meant a possibility of a cutting off of the entire 
British army and the French and Belgian forces between Ypres 
and the sea near Nieuport. However, if La Bassee was isolated 
and the Aubers Ridge taken by the British, the chances that the 
Germans could retain Lille were materially lessened ; and if the 
British got Lille they might start to drive their enemy from 

During the lull in the fighting on land, to which reference has 
been made, there was much activity in the air. Reconnaissances 


and raids were of almost daily occurrence. A Zeppelin dropped 
twenty bombs on Calais, slaying seven workmen at the railroad 
station on March 18, 1915. Three days later another, or pos- 
sibly the same Zeppelin, flew over the town, but this time it was 
driven away before it could do any harm. "Taubes" bombarded 
the railroad junction of St. Omer and made a similar attack on 
Estaires on March 23. Four days after another attack was made 
on Estaires, and on the same day, March 27, the German airmen 
did some damage to Sailly, Calais, and Dunkirk. The next day 
a 'Taube" made an attack on Calais, Estaires, and Hazebrouck. 
A Zeppelin closed the month's warfare in the air for the Germans 
by making a dash over Bailleul. 

Aviators of the Allies, too, were busy. One of their aerial 
squadrons proceeded along the coast on March 16 and attacked 
the military posts at Ostend and Knocke. These aviators had 
as one of their main objective points the German coast batteries 
at the latter place. But the squadron was seen from a German 
observation balloon at Zeebrugge, and a flock of "Taubes*' made 
a dash for their enemy's craft. The Germans were not as skill- 
ful airmen, however, and they found it necessary to retire. Five 
British aviators made an attack on the German submarine base 
at Hoboken, southwest of Antwerp, and destroyed a submarine 
and wrecked two others. This raid was made without injury 
to the aviators, the only accident being the necessity of one of 
the aircraft to descend, which it did, only to find it hadjanded 
on Dutch territory and must be interned. The excellence of the 
Allies' flying was not confined to the English. Belgian and 
French airmen, as well as British, flew almost constantly over 
Ostend, Zeebrugge, Roulers, Aubers, and such other places as 
German soldiers and their supplies were in evidence. The Bel- 
gian airmen dropped bombs on the aviation field at Ghistelles on 
March 27, and on the following day a Zeppelin hangar was de- 
stroyed at Berchem-Sainte-Agathe, near Brussels. On March 30, 
1915, ten British and some French aviators flew along the coast 
from Nieuport to Zeebrugge and dropped bombs on magazines 
and submarine bases. The last day of the month saw the de- 
struction of the German captive balloon at Zeebrugge and the 


death of its two observers. The Belgian aviators on the same 
day threw bombs on the aviation field at Handzaeme and the 
railroad junction at Cortemarck, and, south of Dixmude, the 
famous birdman, Garros, fought a successful duel in the air with 
a German aviator. 

An aviator of the Allies flew over the aerodrome at Lille on 
April 1, 1915, and dropped a football. The Germans hastened to 
cover. When the ball bounced prodigiously as a result of being 
dropped from such a height, the Teutons thought it was some 
new kind of death dealer, and remained in their places of 
safety. In fact, they remained there quite a few minutes after 
the football had ceased to bounce. When they finally emerged 
most cautiously and approached the object of their terror, 
they read this inscription on it: "April Fool — Gott strafe 

Though the antiaircraft guns, or "Archibalds," as the soldiers 
called them, were not especially effective except in keeping the 
flyers at such a height that it was not easy for them to make 
effective observations, a "Taube" was brought down at Pervyse, 
and near Ypres another was damaged on April 8. But on April 
12 a German flyer inflicted some loss on the Allies* lines and 
escaped without being even hit. On the following day, presuma- 
bly emboldened by that success, German aeroplanes threw flares 
and smoke balls over the British trenches east of Ypres, with 
the result that the soldiers of King George were subjected to a 
severe bombardment. All things considered, however, the Allies 
had ground for their belief that they more than held their own 
in the air. 

Afloat the Allies continued to maintain the supremacy which 
had been theirs. The French and British battleships held the 
left of the Allies' line. Their great guns proved their effective- 
ness on the Germans who were advancing from Ostend on Nieu- 
port. They repeatedly bombarded the position of the kaiser's 
men at Westende, east of Nieuport. The Germans had trained 
one of their mammoth pieces of artillery against that town pre- 
sumably because it held the sluices and locks which regulated 
the overflowing of the Yser territory. If the means of flooding 


the land could not be seized, the next best thing to do was to 
wreck them. 

The Belgians, in the meantime, assumed the offensive, their 
left being protected by the Allied fleet and the French forces in 
the neighborhood of Nieuport. These troops captured one of the 
smaller forts east of Lombartzyde on March 11, 1915. There was 
also fighting at Schoorbakke, north of the Yser loop, where the 
German trenches were shelled by French artillery. This was 
on the eastern border of the inundated section. After destroy- 
ing the German front in the graveyard at Dixmude, the French 
artillerists battered a German convoy on its way between Dix- 
mude and Essen on March 17, 1915. By March 23 the east bank 
of the Yser held a Belgian division. In fact, from Dixmude to 
the sea the Allied troops were advancing. 

The Germans, however, advanced south of Dixmude. On 
April 1, 1915, they shelled the farms and villages west of the 
Yser and the Yperlee Canals, and took the Driegrachten farm. 
Thereupon the Germans crossed the canal with three machine 
guns. Their plan was to proceed along the border of the inun- 
dated district to Furnes. But the French balked the plan by 
shelling the farm, and the Belgians finished the work by driving 
the Germans back to Mercken on April 6, 1915. 

In the meantime, from March 15 to April 17, 1915, the bom- 
bardment of Ypres was continued, destroying most of the re- 
maining buildings there. Engagements of importance had not 
as yet started on the British front. The British had a supply 
of shrapnel, and the British and French cannon, as well as the 
rifle- and machine-gun fire, held the Germans in check until they 
had time to perfect their plans for a vigorous offensive. Never- 
theless the British needed a much larger supply of ammunition 
before they could start on a determined campaign, which was so 
much desired by the troops. One of the German headquarters, 
however, was shelled effectively by the British on April 1, 1915, 
and on the following day mortars in the trenches did consider- 
able damage in the Wood of Ploegsteert. A mine blew up a 
hundred yards of the trenches that were opposite Quinchy, a 

village to the south of Givenchy, on April 3, 1915. To offset this 

7— War St. 3 


the Germans bombarded the British line at that point. They also 
shelled Fleurbaix, which is three miles southwest of Armentieres, 
on April 5, 1915. The British on the same day wrecked a new 
trench mortar south of there. On April 6, 1915, the German 
artillery began to be more active both north and south of the 
Lys, and the British retaliated by shelling the railway triangle 
that was near Quinchy. German soldiers were slain and others 
wounded when a mine was exploded at Le Touquet, on 
the north bank of the Lys. One of the kaiser's ammunition 
depots was blown up near Quinchy on April 9, 1915, and his 
men were driven from their trenches in front of Givenchy by 
mortar fire. 

The comparative quiet along the front was broken by the fight 
for the possession of Hill 60, which became famous because of 
the rival claims as to victory. The mound, for it was little more, 
getting its name on account of its height — sixty meters — was of 
importance only because it screened the German artillery which 
was shelling Ypres from the bridge to the west of Zandvoord. 
British trenches had been driven close to this hill by the Bed- 
fords, whose sappers tunneled under the mound and there pre- 
pared three mines. At the same time the Germans were tunnel- 
ing to plant mines under the Bedfords' trench. In this under- 
ground race the Bedfords won on the night of April 17, 1915, 
when they blew three big craters in the hill, killing almost to 
a man all of the 150 Germans who were on the little rise of 
ground. The Bedfords then dashed forward to the three craters 
they had opened up and took a quarter of a mile of the German 

The Germans were apparently unprepared for the attack which 
followed the explosion of the British mines, with the result that 
the British had to overcome little resistance, and had ample 
opportunity to prepare a defense from the bombardment that 
followed. The next morning, April 18, 1915, the German in- 
fantry in close formation advanced on the hill. This infantry 
was composed of Saxons, who continued on for a bayonet charge 
in spite of the downpour of lead that the British rained upon 
them. But the Bedfords had been reenforced by the West Rents 


and about thirty motor machine guns. The machine guns raked 
the charging Saxons in front, and shrapnel tore their flank. 
Only their dead and dying remained on the hill; but the Ger-» 
man commanders continued to send their men against the British 
there, who were subjected to a murderous cross-fire, the hill 
forming a salient. As a result of their persistence the German 
troops managed to get a foothold on the southern part of the hill 
by 6 p. m. In the meantime a battalion of Highlanders and the 
Duke of Wellington's regiment had been sent to reenforce the 
Bedfords and the West Rents. The Highlanders made a des- 
perate charge, using bayonets and hand grenades on the Ger- 
mans who had gained the southern edge of the hill. The Ger- 
mans were driven back. 

The Duke of Wurttemberg, the German commander, presum- 
ably believing his troops had not only held what they had taken, 
but had advanced, announced that another German victory had 
been gained in the capture of Hill 60. Sir John French also 
sent out a message, but in his report he set forth that Hill 60 
was held by the British. Because there had been similar con- 
flict in official reports all too frequently, it seemed as if a tacit 
agreement was made among the neUtrals to determine who was 
telling the truth. This resulted in making what was a compara- 
tively unimportant engagement one of the most celebrated battles 
of the war. As soon as Duke Albrecht of Wurttemberg discov- 
ered his mistake he did what he could to make good his state- 
ment by attempting to take Hill 60 without regard to sacrificing 
his men. Sir John French was just as determined to hold the 
hill. So he moved large numbers of troops toward the shattered 
mound, the British artillery was reenforced, and the hastily con- 
structed sandbag breastworks were improved with all possible 

The Germans then attacked with gas bombs. Projectiles filled 
with gas were hurled upon the British from three sides. The 
East Surrey Regiment, which defended the hill in the latter part 
of the battle for it, suffered severely. Faces and arms became 
shiny and gray-black. Membranes in the throats thickened, and 
lungs seemed to be eaten by the chlorine 7>oison. Yet the men 


fought on until exhausted, and then fell to suffer through a death 
struggle which continued from twenty-four hours to three days 
of suffocating agony. 

The German artillery kept up its almost incessant pounding 
of the British. In short lulls of the big gun's work the German 
infantry hurled itself against the trenches on the hill, using 
hand grenades and bombs. The fight continued until the morn- 
ing of May 5, 1915, when the wind blew at about four miles an 
hour from the German trenches. Then a greenish-yellow fog 
of poisonous gas was released, and soon encompassed the hill. 
The East Surreys, who were holding the hill, were driven back 
by the gas, but as soon as the gas passed they charged the Ger- 
mans who had followed the gas and had taken possession of the 
hill. Notwithstanding the machine-gun fire which the Germans 
poured upon them, many of the trenches were retaken by the 
Surrey soldiers in their first frenzied rush to regain what they 
had lost because of the gas. The battle ended when there was 
no hill left. The bombardment and the mines had leveled the 
mound by distributing it over the surrounding territory. The 
British, however, were accorded the victory, as they had trenches 
near where the hill was and made them a part of the base of the 
salient about Ypres. 

That town has been likened to the hub of a wheel whose spokes 
are the roads which lead eastward. It is true that one impor- 
tant road went over the canal at Steenstraate, but practically 
all of the highways of consequence went through Ypres. Thus 
the spokes of the wheel, whose rim was the outline of the salient, 
were the roads to Menin, Gheluvelt, Zonnebeke, Poelcapelle, 
Langemarck, and Pilkem. And the railroad to Roulers was also 
a spoke. Hence all of the supplies for the troops on the salient 
must pass through Ypres, which made it most desirable for the 
Germans to take the town. It will be remembered that they had 
won a place for their artillery early in November, 1914, which 
gave them an opportunity to bombard Ypres through the winter. 
On February 1, 1915, a portion of the French troops which had 
held the salient were withdrawn and their places taken by Gen- 
eral Bulfin's Twenty-eighth Division. Thus, by April 20, 1915, 


that part of the Allies' front was held as follows : From the canal 
to east of Langemarck was the Forty-fifth Division of the French 
army, consisting of colonial infantry. One the French right, to 
the northeast of Zonnebeke, was the Canadian division, under 
the command of General Alderson, consisting of the Third 
Brigade, under General Turner, on the left, and the Second 
Brigade, under General Currie, on the right. The Twenty- 
eighth Division extended from the Canadian right to the south- 
east comer of the Polygon Wood. This division comprised the 
Eighty-third, Eighty-fourth, and Eighty-fifth Brigades in order 
from right to left. The next section of the salient was held by 
Princess Patricia's Regiment of the Twenty-seventh Division, 
which division, under the command of General Snow, guarded 
the front to the east of Veldhoek along the ridge to within a 
short distance of Hill 60, where the Fifth Division, under the 
command of General Morland, held the line. The greater part 
of the German troops opposite the salient were from Wurttem- 
berg and Saxony. 



WHAT is called the second battle of Ypres began with a bom- 
bardment of the little city on April 20, 1915. The rain of 
shells continued on through April 22, 1915, on the evening of 
which the British artillery observers reported a strange green 
vapor moving over the French trenches. The wind was blow- 
ing steadily from the northeast. Soon the French troops were 
staggering back from the front, blinded and choking from the 
deadly German gas. Many of their comrades had been unable to 
leave the spot where they were overtaken by the fumes. Those 
who fled in terror rushed madly across the canal, choking the 
road to Viamertinghe. A part of the Zouaves and Turcos ran 
south toward the Langemarck road, finally reaching the reserve 


battalions of the Canadians. Ere long the Canadians caught 
the deadly odor also. 

But the work of the gas did a much more valuable thing for 
the German troops than causing the agonizing death of many 
hundreds and sending thousands in headlong flight. It made 
a four-mile-wide opening in the front of the Allies. And the 
Germans were quick to take advantage of that opening. They 
followed the gas, and were aided in their advance by artillery 
fire. The French were forced back on the canal from Steen- 
straate to Boesinghe. The Canadians had not suffered so much 
from the gas as the French soldiers, but their flank was too 
exposed for them to do much effective work against the onrush- 
ing Teutons. The attempt to rally the Turcos failed. The Third 
Brigade could not withstand the attack of four divisions, and was 
forced inward from a point south of Poelcappelle until its 
left rested on the wood east of St. Julien. There was a gap 
beyond it, and the Germans were forcing their way around its 
flank. Because the entire First Brigade of Canadians had been 
held in reserve it could not be brought up in time to save the 
situation. Two of the battalions, the Sixteenth and Tenth, were 
in the gap by midnight. They charged and recovered the 
northern edge, and the guns of the Second London Division, 
which had been supporting the French in the wood east of St. 
Julien. But the British could not hold all they retook, and were 
forced to abandon the guns because the artillery horses were 
miles away. So parts of the guns were made useless before the 
Germans had them again. 

Then another counterattack was made by the First and Fourth 
Ontarios of General Mercer's First Brigade. The Fourth Ontario 
captured the German shelter trenches and held them for two 
days, when they were relieved. The Third Canadian Brigade 
held its position in spite of being opposed by many times their 
numbers and almost overcome by the gas fumes. The Forty- 
eighth Highlanders, who had had to withstand the gas, ral- 
lied after their retreat and regained their former place in the 
front. The Royal Highlanders kept their original position. Yet 
there was every indication of a rout. The roads were clogged by 



the night supply trains going forward and the rush of men trying 
to escape from the deadly gas. The staff officers found it impos- 
sible to straighten out the tangle, and the various regiments had 
to act almost as independent bodies. It was not until early the 
following morning, April 23, 1915, that the first reenforcements 
of British soldiers appeared to fill the breach. These men, for 
the most part, were from the Twenty-eighth Division, and had 
been east of Zonnebeke to the southeast corner of Polygon Wood. 
So great was the pressure at the section where the break had 
been made in the line that troops were taken from wherever 
available, so that the units in the gap varied from day to day. 
For the men had to be returned to their original positions, such 
as remained available, as soon as possible. This composite body 
of troops has been called Geddes's Detachment. 

The Germans had captured Lizerne and Het Sas, and Steen- 
straate was threatened by them. They bombarded with heavy 
artillery, located on the Passchendaele ridge, the front held by 
the Canadians, the Twenty-eighth Division, and Geddes's Detach- 
ment, on April 23, 1915. The severest fighting was on that part 
of the front held by the Third Brigade of Canadians. Many men 
had been killed or wounded in this brigade, and those who sur- 
vived were ill from the effects of the gas. Furthermore, no food 
could be taken to them for twenty-four hours. Moreover, they 
were subjected to a fire from three sides, with the result that 
they were forced to a new position on a line running through 
St. Julien. Finally the Germans forced their way around to the 
left of the Third Brigade, establishing their machine guns be- 
hind it. 

A terrific artillery attack was started by the Germans on the 
morning of April 24, 1915, and this was followed by a second 
rush of gas from their trenches. It rose in a cloud seven feet 
high and was making its attack on the British in two minutes 
after it started. It was thickest near the ground, being pumped 
from cylinders. And it worked with the same deadly effect. The 
Third Brigade, receiving its second attack of this sort before it 
had recovered from the first, retreated to the southwest of St. 
Julien, but soon after regained most of their lost position. The 


Second Brigade had to bend its left south. Colonel Lipsett's 
Eighth Battalion, however, held fast on the Grafenstafel ridge, 
remaining in their position two days in spite of the gas of which 
they got a plentiful supply. 

By noon of April 24, 1915, the Germans made an attack on the 
village of St. Julien and that part of the allied front to the east 
of the village. Thereupon the Third Brigade retreated about 700 
yards to a new front south of the village and north of the hamlet 
of Fortuin. But what remained of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth 
Battalions was forced by circumstances to remain in the St. 
Julien line until late that night. Colonel Lipsett's Eighth Battalion 
at Grafenstafel, in spite of its left being unsupported, held its 
position which was of great importance to the British front. For, 
had that part of the front been lost, the Germans in an hour could 
have worked their way back of the Twenty-eighth Division and 
the entire eastern sector. 

In the meantime the French on the western section of the 
front made a counterattack from the canal with partial success ; 
but were unable to drive the German troops from the sector en- 
tirely. The Teutons took Steenstraate ; but their victory there 
was marred by the fact that the Belgian artillery smashed the 
bridge behind them. By this time the British reenforcements be- 
gan to arrive in fairly large numbers. The Thirteenth Brigade 
of the Fifth Division was placed to the west of Geddes's De- 
tachment, between the Pilkem road and the canal. Territorials 
who had arrived from England only three days before, the Dur- 
ham and York Brigades of the Northumbrian Division, supported 
the Thirteenth Brigade. The Tenth Brigade of the Fourth Di- 
vision were rushed to support the Third Brigade of Canadians 
who were south of St. Julien. Other British troops were sent to 
relieve the tense situation at Grafenstafel. 

An attempt to retake St. Julien was made early on Sunday 
morning, April 25, 1915, by General Hull's Tenth Brigade and 
two battalions of the Durham and York Brigade. The British 
worked their way to the few Canadians who had continued on the 
former front when the main British force had been driven back. 
There they were checked by the German machine gun fire. The 


British lost many men here and the efforts to save the day 
resulted in such a mixture of fighting units that there were 
fifteen battalions under General Hull, as well as the Canadian 

At Grafenstafel the Eighth Battalion of the Durham Brigade 
were bombarded with asphyxiating shells before the German in- 
fantry attack. The fighting on this section of the front was fierce 
throughout the afternoon, but finally the British were forced tc 
retire. At Broodseinde, the extreme eastern point of the allied 
front, the Germans made a desperate attempt to take the salient, 
using asphyxiating and other bombs again and again on the men 
of the Twenty-eighth Division of the British. King George's 
men, however, repelled the attacks with severe loss to the Teu- 
tons, taking many prisoners. 

The French on the left, beyond the Yperlee Canal, prevented 
the advance of the German troops; and, farther to the left, the 
Belgians checked three attacks in which asphyxiating gas was 
used, south of Dixmude. Thus it may be seen that the Germans 
had met with no success worth while, when Sunday, April 25, 
1915, closed, so far as the ends of the salient were concerned ; but 
in the center the British situation was so critical that the Second 
Canadian Brigade, reduced to less than 1,000 men, was once 
more called into action on the following day. On the same day, 
April 26, 1915, the Lahore Division of the Indian army was 
marched north of Ypres. The point of the salient was pushed in 
on that day at Broodseinde, but the German success there was 
short-lived. The brigade holding Grafenstafel was attacked 
fiercely by the Germans. The Durham Light Infantry was forced 
from Fortuin behind the Haanabeek River. The Teutons made 
several attacks from the St. Julien district against the section 
between the Yperlee Canal and the southern part of the village. 
By this time Geddes's Detachment was almost exhausted, they, 
with the Canadians, having withstood the heaviest fighting at the 
beginning of the battle ; and most likely saved the Allies a most 
disastrous defeat. The detachment could stand no more, and the 
various units of which it was composed were returned to their 
respective commands. 


But the salient was growing smaller as a result of the repeated 
hammering of the Germans ; and that exposed the allied troops 
to a more deadly fire from three sides. It was evident that the 
Allies must make a counterattack. General Riddell's Bri- 
gade was sent to Fortuin and with the Lahore Division on its left 
was told to retake St. Julien and the woods to the west of the 
village. Beyond the Yperlee Canal, on the left, the French made 
an assault on Lizeme, supported by the Belgian artillery ; while 
the French colonial soldiers poured on Pilkem from the sector 
about Boesinghe. On the right the allied troops were lined up 
as follows : the Connaught Rangers, Fifty-seventh Wilde's Rifles, 
the Ferozepore Brigade, the 129th Baluchis, the Jullundur Bri- 
gade, and General RiddelFs battalions. The Sirhind Brigade was 
held in reserve. 

The German artillerymen apparently knew the distances and 
topography of the entire region and poured a leaden hail upon 
the allied troops. The Indians and the British in their immediate 
neighborhood charged in short rushes, losing many men in the at- 
tempt to reach the German trenches. Before the Germans were 
in any danger of a hand-to-hand struggle, they sent one of their 
gas clouds from their trenches and the attack was abandoned, the 
British and Indians getting back to their trenches as best they 
could. In this action the British gave great praise to their com- 
rades from India. RiddelFs Brigade was stopped in its attack 
on St. Julien by wire entanglements ; and, though the outlaying 
sections of St. Julien were captured, the brigade was unable to 
hold them; and the Germans continued to hold the woods west 
of the village. Nevertheless the British front had been pushed 
forward from 600 to 700 yards in some places. 

By that night, the night of April 26, 1915, the allied front ex- 
tended from the north of Zonnebeke to the eastern boundary of 
the Graf enstaf el ridge ; thence southwest along the southern side 
of the Haanabeek to a point a half mile east of St. Julien ; thence, 
bending around that village, it ran to Vamhuele— called the "shell 
trap" — farm on the Ypres-Poelcappelle road. Next it proceeded 
to Boesinghe and crossed the Yperlee Canal, passing northward 
of Lizerne after which were the French and the Belgians. 


The work of the allied aviators on April 26, 1915, deserves 
more than passing consideration in the record of that day's fight- 
ing. They dropped bombs on the stations of Courtrai, Roubaix, 
Thielt, and Staden. They discovered near Langemarck an 
armored train with the result that it was shelled and thus forced 
to return. And they forced a German aviator to the ground at 

The Lahore Division with the French on their left attacked the 
Germans on April 27, 1915, but they met with little success be- 
cause of the gas which the Teutons sent into the ranks of the at- 
tacking party. But the German troops had lost so heavily that 
they did not seem to be inclined to follow up their apparent ad- 
vantage. Incidentally the Allies needed a rest as well. Hence 
there was little fighting the next two days. On April 30, 1915, 
however. General Putz attacked the Germans with so much force 
that they were hurled back an appreciable distance near Pilkem. 
Seven machine guns and 200 prisoners were taken, and the 214th, 
215th, and 216th German regiments lost more than 1,000 men. 
On the same day the London Rifle Brigade, further east, drove 
back a German forward movement from St. Julien. 

West of the Yperlee Canal, however, it soon became known to 
the commanders of the allied forces that the Germans were in 
such a strong position that it would be impossible to dislodge 
their enemy until much greater preparations had been made. In 
the meantime the communications of the Allies were in danger. 
Hence Sir John French on May 1, 1915, ordered Sir Herbert 
Plumer to retreat. The wisdom of this order, the execution of 
which contracted the southern portion of the salient, was seen 
when the Germans again attempted to force their way through 
the allied front by the use of gas. The attempt this time was 
made between Zonnebeke, on the Ypres-Roulers railroad, and 
Boesinghe on the Yperlee Canal on Sunday, May 2, 1915. Though 
the British had been supplied with respirators of a sort, these 
means of defense were not as effective as they should have been 
nor as adequate as what was provided later. The Germans, how- 
ever, suffered large losses in this attack because, as soon as the 
wall of gas began to approach the British trenches, the men there 


fired into it, well knowing from past experience that the Germans 
were following the gas. In this manner many of the Teutons 
were slain. The Allies adopted other tactics which were quite as 
effective. On seeing the gas approaching, the soldiers in some 
parts of the line proceeded to execute a flank movement, thereby 
getting away from the gas and subjecting the Germans to a 
deadly fire from a direction least expected. 

Between Fortuin and Zonnebeke and south of St. Julien the 
allied line broke, but the supports with two cavalry regiments 
were rushed from Potijze, a mile and a half from Ypres on the 
Zonnebeke Road, and regained the lost ground. By night the 
Germans decided to discontinue their attempt to advance and left 
their dead and wounded on the field. 



THE Germans had only stopped the struggle for a breathing 
spell. On the following morning, Monday, May 3, they made 
an attempt to force the allied position back again. This attempt 
was made on the British left, west of the Bois des Cuisenirs, be- 
tween Pilkem and St. Julien. The Germans cut their wire en- 
tanglements and, leaving their trenches and lying down in front 
of those protecting places, they were ready to advance ; but, be- 
fore they could start forward, the artillery of their enemy did 
such effective work that the Teutons returned to their trenches, 
and gave up an attack at that point. But they made an assault 
against the northern side of the salient which had by this time 
become very narrow. A German bomb wrecked a section of the 
British trenches, and the defenders of that part of the line had to 
go back of a wood that was a little to the northwest of Grafen- 
stafel, where they were able to stop the German onrush. 

The Belgians were bombarded with asphyxiating gas bombs 
beyond the French lines south of Dixmude. The Germans charged 


the Belgian trenches only to be cut down by machine-gun fire. 
That night, the night of May 3, 1915, an attack was made on the 
British front ; but it was stopped by the artillery. 

Sir Herbert Plumer in the meantime had been executing the 
order he had received from Sir John French, and shortened his 
lines so they were three miles less in length than before starting 
the movement. The new line extended from the French position 
west of the Ypres-Langemarck Road and proceeded through 
"shell-trap" farm to the Haanebeek and the eastern part of the 
Frezenberg ridge where it turned south, covering Bellewaarde 
Lake and Hooge and bent around Hill 60. This resulted in leav- 
ing to the Germans the Veldhoek, Bosche, and Polygon Woods, 
and Fortuin and Zonnebeke. This new front protected all of the 
roads to Ypres, and, at the same time, it was not necessary to 
employ as many soldiers to hold this line. Moreover the de- 
fenders of it could not be fired upon from three sides as long 
as they held it. In some places the British and German trenches 
had been no more than ten yards apart, but the difficulty of 
evacuating the British position was completed in safety on the 
night of May 3, 1915. The work included the taking with them 
780 wounded. Sharpshooters were left in the trenches, however, 
and they maintained such an appearance of activity and alertness 
that the Germans kept on shelling the trenches all of the follow- 
ing day. 

The attempt of General Putz to force the Germans back across 
the Yperlee Canal on May 4, 1915, was stopped by a combination 
of machine guns, asphyxiating gas and fog. Then the French spent 
the next ten days in tunneling to Steenstraate. Their tunnels 
toward their objective point were through that territory between 
Boesinghe and Lizerne. On May 5, 1915 the Germans made a 
careful advance on the British front under the cover of fog and 
a heavy bombardment, to find only that the British position had 
been changed. But they intrenched opposite the new alignment, 
and brought up their big guns. Then they used poisonous gas 
again with the result that the British retreated and the Teutons 
followed, in spite of tlie many men who fell because of the accu- 
rate work of the British artillery. The greater part of this action 


took place around Hill 60, and some of the British trenches to the 
north of the hill were captured by the Germans. They then pene- 
trated toward Zillebeke to the supporting line. Up to midnight 
the Germans seemed to be victorious ; then, however, the British 
drove them from the hill only to be driven away in turn by the 
use of asphyxiating gas. On the following day the Teutons held 
Hill 60 and some of the trenches north of it. 

Asphyxiating gas also had been used in an attempt to break 
the British front on the left, on both the north and south sides of 
the Ypres-Roulers railroad. Though this attack failed, the Teu- 
tons were ready to make as near superhuman efforts as possible 
because they knew that the French were getting ready for a de- 
cisive action in the Arras territory, which would have the aid of 
a British attack south of the Lys. Hence it was to the advan- 
tage of the Germans to force Sir John French and General Foch 
to retain most of the British and French soldiers north of 
the Lys. On May 8, 1915, they turned their artillery on that 
part of the British front that was near Frezenberg. It de- 
stroyed the trenches and killed or wounded hundreds of the de- 
fenders. After three hours of this, the Germans commenced an 
attack on that part of the British front between the Ypres-Menin 
and the Ypres-Poelcappelle highways, the greatest pressure being 
brought to bear along both sides of the Ypres-Roulers railroad. 

The British fought bravely, but it was impossible for them to 
hold out against the avalanche of lead. First the right of a 
brigade went to pieces and then its center and the left of an- 
other brigade south of it were forced back. Princess Patricia's 
Canadian Light Infantry held fast. The Second Essex Regiment 
also made some little success for their side by annihilating a 
small detachment of Germans ; but that was more than offset by 
the breaking of the center of another brigade, after which the 
First Suffolks were surrounded and put out of the fight. Finally 
the Germans pushed their way on to Frezenberg. Sir Herbert 
Plumer realized by the middle of the afternoon that a counter- 
attack was necessary. He had held two battalions in reserve 
along the Ypres-Menin Road. He also had five battalions with 
him and reenf orcements in the form of a brigade of infantry had 


arrived at Vlamertinghe Chateau, back of Ypres. He sent the 
First Royal Warwickshires, the Second Royal Dublin Fusiliers, 
the Second Surreys, the Third Middlesex, and the First York and 
Lancaster Regiments into the break in the line with the result 
that Frezenberg was retaken. This victory was short-lived, how- 
ever ; for the German machine-gun fire was too fierce for the men 
to withstand. The British retired to a new front which ran north 
and south through Verlorenhoek. The Twelfth London Regiment^ 
on the left, though it lost many men, managed to get to the 
original line of trenches. Next the British were menaced from 
the north and east. Great bodies of Teutons rushed from the 
woods south of the Menin highway, when others rushed down the 
Poelcappelle Road and took Wieltje, which is only about two miles 
from Ypres. 

The fighting continued all night, but shortly after midnight 
the British charged with the bayonet and retook Wieltje as well 
as most of that section to the north of it which they had lost 
Early on May 9, 1915, the fighting was continued, and, in the 
afternoon, the Germans charged from the woods in a vain at- 
tempt to take Ypres after a severe bombardment of the British 
trenches. An attacking party of five hundred was slain north of 
the town. On the eastern side of the salient there were five dis- 
tinct attacks. An attempt to capture the Chateau Hooge was 
made early in the evening, only to result in heaping the ground 
with German dead. The day closed with 150 yards of British 
trenches in the hands of the Germans ; but they had been taken 

tt a fearful cost to the kaiser's men. 
The Germans began the next day. May 10, 1915, by shelling 
he British north and south of the Ypres-Menin road. They fol- 
)wed the cannonade with a cloud of asphyxiating gas. They then 
tarted for the opposing trenches. Many of them, the British 
liege, wore British uniforms. The British had by now been 
equipped with proper respirators and could withstand a gas at- 
tack with comparative ease. When the Germans were in close 
range they received a rifle and machine-gun fire that mowed them 
down almost instantly. Those who had not been shot fell to the 
ground to escape the leaden hail. But escape was not for them. 


Shrapnel was poured upon them, and nearly all of the attacking 
troops perished. 

Another gas attack was made between the Ypres-Menin road 
and the Ypres-Comines canal. There two batteries of gas cylin- 
ders sent forth their deadly fumes for more than a half hour. 
The cloud that resulted became so dense that it was impossible 
for the British in the opposite trenches to see anything ; so they 
were withdrawn temporarily ; but the troops to the left and right 
kept the Germans from following up this advantage and the 
trenches were saved to the British. When the gas had passed 
away the men returned to their former position. North of the 
Menin road, however, the Germans were successful in driving 
the Fourth Rifle Brigade and the Third King's Royal Rifles to a 
new position, the trenches which the British occupied having 
been battered by shell fire to such an extent that some of the oc- 
cupants were buried alive. Hence the British here retreated to a 
new line of trenches west of the Bellewaarde Wood where the 
trees had been shelled until they were part of a hopeless entangle- 
ment rather than a forest. 

The next day, May 11, 1915, was started by the Germans hurl- 
ing hundreds of incendiary shells into the already ruined town 
of Ypres. They also fired almost countless high-explosive shells 
into the British trenches. The British big guns replied with con- 
siderable effect. One of the German cannon was rendered use- 
less by the fire of the Thirty-first Heavy Battery, and several 
howitzers were damaged by the North Midland Heavy Battery. 
The German cannonade was especially effective near the Ypres- 
St. Julien road. The Teutons, however, did not confine their work 
to the artillery, for they made three assaults on the British 
trenches south of the Menin road. This part of the line was held 
by Scottish regiments, who, though they were forced out of their 
trenches, regained them with the aid of other Scots who were sup- 
porting them. 

By now it was apparent to the British commanding officers 
that they must still further lessen the projection of their salient. 
So on May 12, 1915, the Twenty-eighth Division was sent to the 
reserve. It had experienced continuous fighting since April 22, 


1915, and had suffered severe losses. It had only one lieutenant 
colonel. Captains were in command of most of its battalions. 
The First and Third Cavalry Divisions took its place. They 
were under the command of General De Lisle. From left to 
right the new line was held as follows : The men of the Twelfth 
Brigade, the Eleventh Brigade, and a battalion of the Tenth 
Brigade of the Fourth Division guarded the new front to a point 
northeast of Verlorenhoek. ' Next came the First Cavalry which 
held the line to the Roulers railroad. From the railroad to Belle- 
waarde Lake the Third Division held the line. From the lake to 
Hill 60 the Twenty-seventh Division had its position. The 
British admitted that this new position was not strong, because it 
lacked natural advantages, and the trenches werq more or less 
of hasty construction. 

The Germans started a heavy bombardment of the cavalry on 
May 13, 1915, when the rain was pouring in torrents and a north 
wind was adding to the discomforts of the British. The fiercest 
part of this attack was on the Third Division. Some idea of the 
fierceness of the bombardment can be gained when it is known 
that in a comparatively short space of time more than eight 
hundred shells were hurled on a part of the British line which 
was not more than a mile in length. In places the British were 
buried alive. In spite of the destructive fire, the North Somerset 
Yeomanry, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Glyn, charged the 
Germans who were advancing on their trenches under cover of 
the bombardment. The charge was effective, and the Teutons 
were driven headlong toward their own trenches. But the Ger- 
man artillery had the range of the Seventh Brigade on the right, 
and poured upon it such a fire that it retreated several hundred 
'-ards, leaving the right of the Sixth Brigade exposed. As soon 
IS possible the British made an attempt to remedy the defect in 
leir line, and found it necessary to make a counterattack. In 
lis counterattack very satisfactory results were obtained by the 
ise of the Duke of Westminster's armored motor cars. The 
tritish regained the lost ground, but they found it impossible to 
itain it, for the Teuton's heavy artillery had the range of the 
iition so accurately that no man could live there. The result 

8— War St. 3 


of the day's fighting was a farther pushing back of the line of 
the British so that it bent backward from Verlorenhoek and 
Bellewaarde Lake. In addition to being forced back, the British 
suffered a large loss of men, especially officers. 

The infantry on the left had been fiercely attacked on this same 
day ; but it managed to keep from being driven from its position. 
One of the defenders of this part of the line was a territorial bat- 
talion, the London Rifle Brigade. There were only 278 men in the 
battalion at the beginning of the day, it having suffered severe 
losses previously. By night ninety-one more had been lost. Four 
survivors, under command of Sergeant Douglas Belcher, and two 
hussars whom the sergeant had added to his squad, held that part 
of the line in the face of repeated attacks. These plucky men 
not only made the Germans think the front was strongly de- 
fended there by using quick-firing methods, but they undoubt- 
edly saved the right of the Fourth Division. Another especially 
gallant piece of work on the part of the British was done by the 
Second Essex, the reserve battalion of the Twelfth Brigade. With 
a bayonet charge they drove the Germans from Shelltrap Farm, 
which was between the Langemarck and Poelcappelle highways, 
and, though it was held by first one side and then the other, the 
British had it at the close of the day in spite of the bom- 
bardment it received. 

The French met with better success on the British left. Under 
the command of General Putz they made an attack on Het Sase 
and Steenstraate. The sharpshooters of the Zouaves and Alge- 
rians took a trench in front of the latter place and entered the 
village. They fought on to the canal by the end of that day, which 
was May 15, 1915. More than six hundred Teuton dead were 
counted after that engagement. At the same time the Zouaveaf 
captured Het Sase with great ease, because the artillery had ren- 
dered its defenders useless for more fighting. The Germans, 
however, were not inclined to give up the town so easily. They 
bombarded Het Sase that night, using asphyxiating shells. Noth- 
ing daunted, the Zouaves put on their respirators and drove off 
with hand grenades and rifle fire the Germans who followed in 
the wake of the poisonous shells. On the following day it was 






/k -k 2. 



said that the only Germans left alive on the left side of the 
Yperlee Canal were either wounded or prisoners. The French 
had destroyed three German regiments, taken three redoubts, and 
captured four fortified lines and three villages. In this connec- 
tion it may not be amiss to note that the French reported that, 
on May 15, 1915, the German Marine Fusiliers who were at- 
tempting to hold the Yperlee Canal concluded it was the better 
part of valor to surrender. Before the Germans could relinquish 
their places they were shot down by their comrades in the 

Fighting along the line of the salient continued with more or 
less vigor for nearly ten days, but, until May 24, 1915, there were 
no engagements that had much out of the ordinary. On that date, 
however, the entire front from Belle waarde Lake to Shelltrap, a 
line three miles in length, was bombarded with asphyxiating 
shells. This was followed by a gas cloud that was sent against the 
same extent of trenches. The wind sent the cloud in a south- 
westerly direction, so that the deadly fumes got in their work 
along nearly five miles of the front. It is asserted that the cloud 
was 40 feet in height, and that the Germans continued to renew 
the supply of gas for four and a half hours. It had little effect 
wherever the British used their respirators, for they managed to 
stay in their positions without undue inconvenience. Those who 
suffered the most from the gas cloud were the infantry of the 
Fourth Division on the left. The cloud which had followed the 
asphyxiating shells was in turn followed by a severe bombard- 
ment from three sides — the east, northeast, and north. The 
principal attacks were made in the neighborhood of Shelltrap, 
the British front along the Roulers railroad, and along the 
Menin road in the vicinity of Bellewaarde Lake. In those places 
the British were pushed back at least temporarily ; but counter- 
attacks were delivered before nightfall, and the greater part of 
the lost ground regained. Thus, to the disappointment of the 
Germans, their extra effort, with all the means of warfare at 
their disposal, had resulted only in reducing the salient at an 
enormous cost in lives on both sides, but the gain had been for 
the most part temporary. 


Before leaving the consideration of the second battle of Yprea 
it may be well to estimate what has been gained and lost by both 
sides. In the attempt to wear down their opponents one side had 
inflicted as much of a blow as the other, to all intents and pur- 
poses, for there had been an almost prodigal waste of human life 
and ammunition. The distinct advantage that Germany had 
gained was in pushing back and almost flattening out the prow 
of the British salient, and they had demonstrated the superiority 
of their artillery. Britain, on the other hand, had lost no stra- 
tegical advantage by the change of her line. The knowledge that 
Germany had a superior artillery acted as a stimulant in making 
the British provide a better equipment of big guns. But the 
British had demonstrated the great superiority of their infantry 
over that of Germany. In fact there was comfort to be derived 
by the friends of each side as a result of the second battle of Ypres. 
The fighting had to stop, as far as being a general engagement 
was concerned. There were other parts of the front in western 
Europe which were becoming by far too active for either the 
Germans or the British to neglect them. Hence it is necessary to 
leave Ypres and the brave men who fell there, and consider what 
was being done elsewhere. 



^URING the time in which the foregoing actions had been tak- 
ing place, there was activity on the part of the Allies and the 
rermans in other sections of the great western front. It is true 
[that not much was accomplished in Alsace in either April or 
[ay; for the fighting in the plains had been for the most part 
rhat may be termed trench warfare. The most important en- 
gagement had been the effort to take and hold Hartmannsweiler- 
[kopf , the spur of the Molkenrain massif, which controls the union 


of the Thur and the 111. The top of this rise of ground, it will be 
remembered, had been won by the Germans on January 21, 1915; 
but the heights west of it and their slopes were in the possession 
of the French, who desired to add the spur to their possessions. 
For this purpose the French artillery bombarded it on March 25, 
1915, and continued their work on the following day, March 26, 
1915, when the Chasseurs stormed the height, and, after fighting 
for six hours, gained the top and captured 400 prisoners. But 
the Germans had no intention of giving their opponents such a 
hold on the control of the valley of the 111, so there were many 

While the Germans were attempting to retake the summit, the 
French were making desperate efforts to drive the Teutons from 
the eastern slopes. The Germans were temporarily successful, 
but their success was short-lived, for the French retook the top 
on April 28, 1915. During the next month. May, both sides made 
claims of success; but what each actually possessed was as fol- 
lows: The French had the top and all of the western portion; 
the Germans possessed the summit ridge, and the east and north- 
east portions. But, until the French held the entire mountain, 
they could make little use of it in controlling the 111 Valley. 

The fighting in the other part of the Vosges had to do prin- 
cipally with the valley of the Fecht. The stream runs from 
Schlucht and Bramont east, and proceeds past Mtinster and Met- 
zeral. On its right bank is the railroad from Colmar to Metzeral. 
The heights in the upper part of the valley were held by the 
Chasseurs Alpins; and they desired to take both towns. 
Throughout the month of April the French were fairly success- 
ful on both banks of the river. The spur above Metzeral to the 
northwest was taken by them. The ridge between the two 
valleys was captured by the French on April 17, 1915. The fight- 
ing here was continued throughout May, 1915. 

The next scene of activity was north, where there was a wooded 
plateau between the Moselle and the Meuse. Here the Germans^ 
had a salient which was long and quite narrow. The point of this| 
salient was at St. Mihiel, the other side of the Meuse. This] 
point was well protected by the artillery siX Camp des Romains,; 


which controlled the section for ten miles in any direction. To 
the north of the salient there was a railroad from Etain to Metz. 
There was another line twenty miles to the south. This ran from 
Metz to Thiaucourt by the Rupt de Mad. The village of 
Vigneulles was about in the center of the narrow part of the 
salient, and on the road to St. Mihiel. There was a better road 
to the south through Apremont A strategic railroad had been 
built from Thiaucourt by Vigneulles to St. Mihiel, down the Gap 
of Spada, which is an opening between the hills of the Meuse 
Valley. The plateau of Les Eparges is north of Vigneulles. The 
plateau is approximately 1,000 feet above the sea level, and forms 
the eastern border of the heights of the Meuse. There was high 
land on the southern side of the salient, along which ran the 
main road from Commercy to Pont-a-Mousson. Within the 
salient the land was rough and, to a considerable extent, covered 
with wood. 

The French did not plan to make an attack on the salient at its 

apex. The artillery at Camp des Remains would be too effective. 

The French plan was to press in the sides of the salient and 

finally control the St. Mihiel communications. The southeastern 

side of the salient, at the beginning of April, 1915, extended from 

St. Mihiel to Camp des Remains, thence to Bois d'Ailly, Apre- 

mont, Boudonville, Regnieville, and finally to the Moselle, three 

miles north of Pont-a-Mousson. The northwestern side was 

marked by an imaginary line drawn from Etain in the north past 

Fresnes, over the Les Eparges Heights, and thence by Lamor- 

ville and Spada to St. Mihiel. The place of most importance, 

from a military point of view, was the Les Eparges plateau, 

which controlled the greater part of the northern section of the 

ilient. The taking of this plateau would naturally be the first 

Jtep in capturing Vigneulles. But the Germans had converted 

ies Eparges into what had the appearance of being an impreg- 

lable fort, when they took it on September 21, 1914. Their 

•enches lined the slopes, and everji^hing had been made secure 

for a possible siege. The French in February and March, 1915, 

Lowever, had taken the village of Les Eparges and a portion of 

le steep side on the northwest. But of necessity they made 


progress slowly, because they were in such an exposed position 
whenever they sought the top. They had planned an assault for 
April 5, 1915, and, in a heavy rain, with the slope a great mass of 
deep mud, the French gained some territory. This they were 
unable to hold when the Germans made a counterattack on the 
following morning, April 6, 1915. That night the soldiers of the 
republic forced their way up with the bayonet, taking 1,500 yards 
of trenches, by the morning of April 7, 1915. Thereupon the 
Germans brought up reenforcements, which were rendered use- 
less by the French artillery, which prevented them from going 
forward to the battle line. The German artillery used the same 
tactics, with the result that the French reenforcements were kept 
out of the fight. After the cannons had completed their work, 
both sides were apparently willing to rest for the remainder of 
the day. But on the morning of April 8, 1915, two regiments of 
infantry and a battalion of Chasseurs forced their way to the 
top, which they took after an hour*s hard fighting. That pushed 
the Germans back to the eastern slope. Then the battle was 
fought on during the remainder of the day, which found the 
French, at its close, in possession of all except a little triangle in 
the eastern section. 

Some idea of the conditions confronting those who attempted 
the ascent may be gained when it is learned that fourteen hours 
were required by the hardy French troops to go up to relieve 
their comrades who gained the top. This relief was not sent until 
the following day, April 9, 1915. On that day the Germans in the 
little triangle were driven off or slain. One of the sudden and 
dense fogs of the region appeared later and made a cover for a 
German counterattack. The French were at a disadvantage, 
but they quickly rallied, and, the fog suddenly lifting, they em- 
ployed a bayonet charge with such good effect that the Germans 
were driven off with large losses. The importance of this 
achievement to the Allies is not likely to be overestimated. The 
height of Les Eparges dominated the Woevre district, and its: 
capture by the French was one of the most heroic feats of the 
war. The Germans placed as high a value on the height for 
military purposes ai? the French. They had spent the winter in 


O I 2 S 4 

MARCH ^9*9 



adding to what nature had made nearly perfect — ^the impregna- 
bility of the entire sector. They intrusted its defense, when an 
attack seemed likely, only to first-line troops, the Tenth Division 
of the Fifth Corps from Posen holding it when the French made 
their successful attack. To gain the height it was necessary for 
the French to climb the slimy sides, which were swept by machine- 
gun fire. The Germans knew the exact range of every square 
foot of the slopes. There was no place that offered even a slight 
shelter for the attacking force. The weather was at its worst. 
Yet, in spite of the many difficulties which seemed insurmount- 
able, the French soldiers had won the most decisive engagement 
in this part of the campaign. 

It is true the Teutons occupied the lesser spur of Combres; 
but that gave them little or no advantage, for no attack could be 
made from it without subjecting the attacking party to a leaden 
hail from St. Remy and Les Eparges. But the German sahent 
still remained, and the French continued their pressure on it. 
They pushed forward in the north to Etain, and took the hills on 
the right bank of the Orne, which hampered their enemy in his 
use of the Etain-Conflans railroad. They closed in on the re- 
entrant of the salient to the north — Gussainville ; and they used 
the same tactics in regard to Lamorville, because it dominated the 
Gap of Spada ; and to the north of it they exerted a pressure on 
the Bois de la Selouse. The engagements on the south of the 
salient were fought desperately. The part of the top which falls 
away to the Rupt de Mad was held by the French. That section 
is covered with a low wood, which develops into presentable for- 
ests in the region toward the Moselle Valley to the east. The 
Teutons had taken every advantage of the ground in construct- 
ing their fortifications, and the French found a hard task before 
them. They proceeded against their opponents in the Bois 
d^Ailly, the Forest of Apremont, the Bois de Mont-Mare, the 
village of Regnieville, and the Bois le Pretre. Though each suc- 
cess was not large, the entire effort was effective in pushing in 
the southern side of the salient. This brought the soldiers of the 
republic to within about four miles of Thiaucourt, which, with the 
control of Les Eparges, threatened St. Mihiel. 



The French heavy artillery shelled the southern front of the 
trenches at Metz on May 1, 1915. The great desire to take Alsace 
and Lorraine, however, was set aside early in the month. The 
plight of Russia at this time made it imperative for the Allies to 
make a great movement on the western front to prevent as much 
as possible the pressure on the czar's line. Hence the campaign 
which seemed to be planned by the French was abandoned for a 
larger opportunity. This was the advance of the Tenth Army in 
the Artois over the plain of the Scheldt in the direction of Douai 
and Valenciennes, thereby threatening the communications of the 
entire Teuton line from Soissons to Lille. Hence the French 
started a vigorous movement against Lens, while the British 
sought to take Lille. 



TO understand properly the campaign in the Artois, it is neces- 
sary to have at least a fair knowledge of the geography 
and the topography of the territory between La Bassee and 

The valley of the Scarpe is held in on the south by low hills, and 
on the north by a low plateau, which descends in long ridges to 
the valley of the Lys and the plains about Lens. The greatest alti- 
tude in this section is the ridge known as Notre-Dame de Lorette, 
running east and west, and containing numerous ravines. To the 
south of it, in a little valley, is the town of Albain St. Nazaire. 
Carency is opposite on the next ridge. Next is the Bois de 
Berthonval in the middle of a wide depression. Beyond, the land 
ascends to Mont St. Eloi. The valley of the Lys is to the north of 
the Lorette ridge. To the east the land descends to the long, 
; narrow valley in which is the highway between Arras and 
Bethune. La Targette and Souchez are along the way. Again 
the land rolls upward to the hills of Vimy with the Lens-Arras 
highway beyond them. 


The Teutons held a saUent in this region at the beginning of 
May, 1915. The Hne which bounded this saUent ran east of Loos 
over the Bethune-Lens road, east of Aix-Noulette, and appeared 
on the Lorette plateau considerably to the west of its tallest spur, 
where was situated the Chapel of Our Lady ; running out to the 
prow of the salient, it took in Albain; and then proceeded to 
Carency ; bending closely, it ran east of the Bois de Berthonval, 
taking in La Targette and the Arras-Bethune highway. That 
part of the German line was called by the French the "White 
Works," on account of the chalk with which the breastworks were 
constructed. To the southeast of it was a section known as the 
Labyrinth. Ecurie was inside the line which finally ran back east 
of Arras. The salient was constructed for the guarding of Lens, 
which was considered the entrance to the upper valley of the 
Scheldt and the lowlands in the direction of Douai and Valen- 
ciennes. Of more importance than Lens itself was the railroad 
back of this front, the capture of which would naturally be a 
source of great danger to the Germans. 

The French had won some ground in the region of the Lorette 
plateau early in 1915. The Tenth Army in the Artois received 
enough additional men to give it seven corps. More than 1,100 
pieces of artillery, of varying caliber, were taken to this region 
by the French. The entire preparation for the campaign was 
under the personal direction of General Foch. In the meantime 
the Germans, becoming aware that their enemy was becoming 
more and more active, proceeded to strengthen the front by the 
addition of three divisions which were known as "divisions of 
assault." The men composing these additions were from Bavaria, 
Saxony, and Baden. Even this reenforcement left the Teutons 
outnumbered, and with less artillery than their opponents; but 
they held a position which was considered more impregnable than 
any other on either front. The Germans here had a chain of 
forts linked together by an elaborate series of trenches, these 
latter so arranged that the taking of one of the series placed its 
captors within the zone of fire of several others. Moreover there 
was an elaborate series of underground works, including mines 
and wolf pits, the latter being covered over with a thin layer of 


turf and thickly studded with stakes whose points awaited the 
charging French. 

General Foch was ready on Sunday morning, May 9, 1915, 
and his artillery began one of the heaviest bombardments 
in history. The 1,100 French cannon hurled 300,000 shells 
on the German fortifications that day. The reverberations 
were deafening and terrifying. They startled the British en- 
gaged at the Aubers Ridge. The deluge of projectiles crashed 
their way through the supposedly impregnable work of engineer- 
ing that the Germans had erected, and buried their mangled de- 
fenders in chaotic ruins. The preliminary work of the artillery 
was continued for three hours, accompanied by the plaudits of 
the French infantrymen. Then the infantry were sent to take 
the wrecks of what had been the pride of the German engineers. 
They took what was still in existence at La Targette, and the im- 
portant crossroads there. They waged a fierce fight in and around 
the village of Neuville St. Vaast, which was stoutly defended by 
German machine guns. Here there was house-to-house fighting. 
The French center, farther north, charged over the remnants of 
the White Works, and went on beyond the Arras-Bethune road. 
This section of the advance took more than two and a half miles 
of trenches in an hour and a half. On the left the French were 
unable to maintain such speed, because of the many ravines. 
They took the outlying sections of Carency, and worked their way 
eastward, cutting the road to Souchez. At the end of the first 
lay the French had to their credit three lines of German trenches 
m a five-mile front, 3,000 prisoners, 10 field guns, and 50 machine 

The bombardment was continued all night by the French gun- 

lers, while the men who had taken the trenches did their best to 

lake such repairs as were necessary for the protection of the 

ictors. On the morning of the following day. May 10, 1915, the 

joldiers of the republic had forced their way into the center of the 

German position. North of the plateau of Notre Dame de Lorette 

feint attack was made to hold the German reserves. When 

le first French line was about to dash forward to complete their 

^ork of the day before, they suddenly received an order to re* 


main where they were and seek all cover possible. One of the 
French aviators had seen a German counterattack getting under 
way near the sugar factory at Souchez. Preparatory to the 
Teuton advance the German artillery hurled hundreds of high- 
explosive shells on the section where the French would have been 
had they not received the order to keep under cover. To be ex- 
posed under such conditions would have meant annihilation. Be- 
lieving their plans for the counterattack were working favorably, 
the Germans advanced, only to be mowed down by the French 
guns. Then the French infantry charged and gained another 
trench line. So eager were the younger French soldiers that 
some of those who charged from the south were not content 
with taking the trench which was their objective point, but 
dashed on into a ravine that extended in the direction of Ablain. 
There they killed or made prisoners of the Germans they found. 
This dash was extremely hazardous in the face of a possible 
German counterattack, which luckily for the French did not 
occur as the Teutons retired to Souchez in confusion and were 
unable to rally for any counterattack. A summary of the day's 
fighting includes the taking of all of the German trenches across 
the Bethune-Loos road; the attack on the fortified chapel of 
Notre Dame de Lorette, and the gaining of the trenches to the 
south of it, these connecting with Ablain and Souchez ; the cap- 
ture of the cemetery of Neuville St. Vaast ; and the defeat of the 
German reserves who were rushed in motor cars from Lens 
and Douai. The trenches and approaches being too narrow and 
deep to allow freedom of action in using rifle and bayonet, the 
rifle is generally slung on the man's back in bandolier, and the 
fighting within the trenches is done with short weapons, espe- 
cially with hand grenades, hence the new military expressions 
**bombing" and "bombing parties," as the squads are called that 
are especially detailed for bomb work during the charges. 

The fighting continued fiercely throughout May 11, 1915. Late 
in the day the French took the lower part of the Arabs' Spur. An 
unsuccessful counterattack was made that night from the Spur of 
the White Way. But the French were harried by the artillery in 
Angres and the machine guns in Ablain, and their discomforts 


were added to by the work of the bursting shells which 
opened the graves of soldiers who had been slain in previous 

Carency, surrounded on the east, south and west, and wrecked 
by the 20,000 shells which had been fired upon it, surrendered on 
the afternoon of May 12, 1915. The Germans captured there 
made a total of more than 5,000 prisoners taken by the French. 
Notre Dame de Lorette with its chapel and fort was also 
taken this same day, as was Ablain which was in flames when 
it was surrendered. Thus all of the highland to the west of 
Souchez was held by the French except a few fortins on eastern 

A north wind and a heavy rain added to the discomforts of 
the soldiers on May 13, 1915. But physical discomforts were 
not all that made for more or less unhappiness. The Germans 
had little reason to be happy ; but the French had the edge taken 
from their elation, because of their victory, by the fact that it 
seemed as if it must be won again before it would be of use to 
them. According to the rules of the war game the German line 
had been broken and the French had made for themselves a right 
of way; but there were many instances in this war where the 
rules were not followed ; and this was one of the exceptions. It 
is true the German line had been smashed, but it had not fallen 
back. Instead the remnants of the line had collected themselves 
in the series of independent redoubts which had seemingly been 
prepared for just such an emergency. They were so situated 
that it was well-nigh impossible to destroy them at long range; 
>ut it was impossible to make any forward movement which 
'•ould not be enfiladed by them. Hence it became necessary for 
the French, if they were to be really victorious, to reduce each 
separate redoubt. The most prominent of these were the sugar 
factory at Souchez, the cemetery at Ablain, the White Road on 
spur of the Lorette, the eastern portion of Neuville St. Vaast, 
id the Labyrinth. The last named was so called because it 
was an elaborate system ot trenches and redoubts in an angle 
between two roads. The White Road surrendered on May 21, 
1915. Ablain was taken on May 29, 1915. The Souchez sugar 





factory fell on May 31, 1915. Neuville St. Vaast was cap- 
tured on June 8, 1915. The Labyrinth, however, remained under 
German control. Part of it was fifty feet below the surface 
of the earth, much of the fighting there being carried on in un- 
derground galleries and by means of mines. It finally was 
entirely in the hands of the French on June 19, 1915, after being 
taken to a considerable extent foot by foot. The last of the 
fighting there was in what was known as the Eulenburg Pas- 
sage, where the entire 161st German Regiment, consisting of 
4,000 men, were slain and a Bavarian regiment suffered a 
heavy loss in killed and wounded. The French took 1,000 
prisoners; and only 2,000 of their own men were unable to 
answer roll call after the fight, of whom many were only slightly 

In concluding the account of the battle of the Artois it may 
be admitted that the French had won what has been called a 
brilliant victory, but it had not been a complete success. They 
had made an end of the German salient ; and only the last defense 
of Lens remained. How much they had reduced the pressure on 
Russia is problematical; but there is little doubt they had pre- 
vented the Germans from continuing the offensive on the Ypres 
front. They estimated the German loss at 60,000; and, by a 
peculiar coincidence, the Crown Prince of Bavaria, whose armies 
they fought, estimated the French loss at the same figure — 
60,000. It is known they lost many men in the hand-to-hand 
struggles; but their great forward movement was so well pro- 
tected by their artillery that the French loss there was com- 
paratively slight. Some idea can be gained from the fact that 
[one French division killed 2,600 of their enemy and captured 
8,000 prisoners with a loss of only 250 slain and 1,250 wounded. 
[But the greatest gain to the French was probably the fact that 
[the battle of the Artois had proved to the soldiers of the republic 
[that their artillery was the equal of the German, which had 
ibeen the arm in which the Teutons excelled. It also proved that 
the Germans could not intrench themselves in any manner that 
[was impregnable to the French; for they had taken the Laby- 
jrinth, a most complicated series of military engineering feats 

9— War St. 3 


which were supposed to be able to withstand any assault. And 
lastly, and perhaps of most importance to the French, the belief 
in the superiority of the German soldier, as a result of 1870- 
was shattered in the mind of the Frenchman. 



TO aid the French in the Artois, the British made a forward 
movement in the Festubert region in May, 1915. Its purpose 
was to prevent the Seventh German Corps from sending troops 
and artillery to reenforce Lens. Moreover the British, if they 
succeeded, would take the Aubers ridge, which they had tried to 
gain in the battle of Neuve Chapelle. If they could capture the 
Aubers ridge, the way would be opened to Lille and La Bassee. 
The action began on Sunday morning. May 9, 1915, in the region 
between Bois Grenier and Festubert, and was a part of the for- 
ward movement of the British from Armentieres to La Bassee. 
Part of the First Corps and the Indian Corps marched forward 
on the right from the Rue du Bois toward the southern part of 
the Bois du Biez, where there had been much fighting before. 
The principal attack was made by the Eighth Division on Rouges 
Bancs, not far from Fromelles and the Aubers ridge, near where 
the British had been stopped in the battle of Neuve Chapelle. 
At approximately the same time that General Sir Douglas Haig 
with the British First Army reached the slightly elevated plateau 
in front of Lille, General Foch with a large body of French 
troops made a desperate attack on the Germans on their front 
from La Bassee to Arras. The French and British had joined 
their efforts here, not only to relieve the pressure which was 
being exerted on Ypres and to take Lille, which dominated a 
region rich in coal, but also for the purpose of keeping the Ger- 
mans so busy on the western front that none could be sent to the 


eastern front and further embarrass Russia. The artillery of both 
the British and French attempted to wreck the German trenches 
before their infantry should be sent against their foe. In this 
effort the British, using principally shrapnel, made little head- 
way; but their ally, using high-explosive shells, such as they 
had been hurEng at the Germans for weeks at the rate of a 
hundred thousand a day, was successful. Soon the Teutons' 
front was screened by clouds of yellow, green, black and white 
smoke. But this was not to be a one-sided artillery engagement, 
and the Germans soon had their artillery in action. They trained 
it on their enemies' trenches, believing from the size of the 
bombardment that an assault was soon to be made and that the 
trenches would be filled with troops. Their surmise was correct, 
but the Allies had suspected their opponents would reason thus, 
so the French and British infantry were in covered positions. 
Of course the Germans did not know how well their opponents 
were protected, so they sent thousands of shells against the 
allied positions. And again the allied artillerists replied in 
kind. This time they caught the German reenforcements, with 
the result that many of them were slain before they could reach 
their own front. In this work the British shrapnel was more 
effective than the French high-explosive shells. 

The bombardment was continued vigorously for three-quarters 
of an hour. That the allied range finders had been doing ac- 
curate work was evidenced by the appearance of the German 
trenches when the British and French fire was turned against 
the supporting German trenches ; but the Teutons' wire entangle- 
ments remained intact. Heretofore the big guns had been able 
to sweep such obstructions away. When the infantry reached 
the barbed wire, it found the Germans had improved this partic- 
ular method of defense by using specially manufactured wire 
cable, well barbed, which was from one and one-half to two 
inches in diameter. And, to protect their cable entanglements, the 
Germans had built parapets in front of the entanglements. Their 
enemy's charging infantry coming upon such an obstruction 
could not cut it, and the only means of circumventing this new 
device was for the attacking force to throw their overcoats on 


the entanglements and crawl across the wire in the face of 
rifle and machine-gun Are. 

For a considerable distance along this part of the front the 
distance between the German and British trenches was not more 
than two hundred yards. At not a few sections the opposing 
trenches were near enough to permit the soldiers to converse 
with their opponents. The trenches for the most part were built 
on the marshland with sandbags, those of the British being 
khaki-colored, and the German being black and white. When the 
inevitable order to charge was given, the British artillery shifted 
its range to the German rear and the Eighth Division dashed 
over the black and white sandbags behind which the Germans 
were crouching. Beyond them was a ridge, in horseshoe for- 
mation, which was the last barrier that lay between the Allies 
and the plains that led to Lille. This ridge trails off in a north- 
easterly direction at Rouges Bancs. Near the hamlet there was 
a small wood which had been taken by the Pathans and Gurkhas 
before the cannonade started. Among the regiments that led the 
attack of the Eighth Division were the Kensington Battalion of 
the London Regiment, the First Gloucesters, the Second Sussex, 
and the Northamptons. They were supported by the Liver- 
pool Territorials, the First North Lancashires, the Second 
King's Royal Rifles, and the Sussex Territorials. The Germans 
had large bodies of reenforcements held at Lille, but they were 
unavailing; and the British took the first line of trenches though 
it required fifteen and a half hours to do it. Then they went on 
until they were on the slope of the ridge. Beyond that, however, 
it seemed impossible to proceed, for the Germans had such an 
array of Aiachine guns trained on the approach to their second 
line of trenches that no human being could live in the face of 
their deadly fire. The British needed an equipment with which 
to bombard their enemy with high-explosive shells. Such an 
equipment they did not possess. 

The German commander played a clever trick on the British 
when their First Army Corps and their Indian Division 
attempted to make progress in the triangle to the west of La 
Bassee. He evacuated his first two lines of trenches while the 


artillery was doing what it could to demolish his parapets ; but 
his men were drawn up in the third line of trenches waiting for 
the inevitable advance of the British. This third line of trenches 
was protected with armor plate and concrete. Moreover he had 
planted a large number of machine guns in the brickfield near 
La Bassee. The British dashed forward until they were in range 
of the machine guns. Then they suffered such severe losses that 
they were forced to retreat, even though they had almost taken 
the inviting German trenches. The Highlanders and the Bed- 
fords had made a gallant charge and felt especially humiliated 
to have to withdraw when victory was about to perch on their 
banners. They believed that a lack of reenforcements was re- 
sponsible for their nonsuccess. 

The day's fighting ended with the First Army of the British 
driven back except in the center. There the Kensington Terri- 
torial Battalion made a remarkable record for itself. In the 
morning when the British artillery ceased firing, the Kensington 
men dashed from their trenches and captured three lines of the 
German trenches at the point of the bayonet. A part of the bat- 
taUon, in its eagerness to win the day, went on up the ridge. At 
the same time one of its companies turned to the left and another 
to the right, and with bayonet and bomb drove the Germans 
from the trenches for a distance of 200 yards. The Kensingtons 
were doing the work that had been set for them to do ; but two 
regular battalions, one to their left and the other to their right, 
were not as able to comply with the orders they had received. The 
regulars were stopped by wire entanglements that the artillery 
had failed to smash, and, at the same time, they were raked by 
machine-gun fire. Hence they were unable to keep up with the 
Territorials. In fact the regulars never got up to the Kensington 
men; but were forced to retire. This left the Territorials in a 
most precarious condition. They had gained such an important 
point on the German line that a heavy fire was directed against 
them. But the British would not give up what they had taken. 
Instead of retiring, they sent for reenforcements which were 
promised to them. In the meantime the Germans gave up trying 
to blow the Kensingtons out of their position and made a counter- 


attack. The left wing of the plucky Territorial battalion used 
bombs effectively to hold their enemy at bay. The right wing at 
the same time was kept busy in its attempt to prevent being en- 
veloped. In spite of all the Germans could do with their artillery 
and their repeated counterattacks the West London men main- 
tained their small wedge in the Teuton front. Finally trench 
mortars were brought against them. Then the Kensington bat- 
talion, or what was left of it, received the order to retire. To do 
that necessitated fighting their way back through the thickening 
line of their enemy. Those British Territorials had held their 
peculiar position several hours, and had suffered severely in con- 
sequence ; but their loss was undoubtedly much larger when re- 
tiring to their former line. They fought the greater part of the 
afternoon and well into the evening in endeavoring to get back ; 
and finally a comparatively few of them succeeded. The last dash 
to the British trenches was made over a barren piece of ground 
which was so flat that there was no opportunity for concealment. 
And here the Germans raked what was left of the battalion with 
rifle and machine-gun fire. Ultimately, however, a portion of 
the brave band returned to the British trenches. Previous to 
withdrawing the survivors from the front, General Sir Henry 
Rawlinson told them that their gaining the position which they 
took and holding it as long as they did had not only relieved the 
pressure on Ypres but had aided General Foch's army to advance 
between Arras and La Bassee. In conclusion he said : "It was a 
feat of arms surpassed by no battalion in this great war." 

The Sussex and Northampton troops made a desperate effort 
to get into the German trenches on the morning in which this 
action start;ed, but they never got nearer than forty yards, being 
stopped by the deluge of shrapnel, rifle, and machine-gun fire to 
which they were subjected. When they were ordered to return 
to the British trenches, those who remained able to make the at- 
tempt found it quite as dangerous as trying to go forward. That 
afternoon the Black Watch and the First Cameronians charged 
where the Sussex and Northamptons had been repulsed, but the 
Scotchmen had but little more success. It is true some of the men 
from the land of the heather got into the German trenches ; but 


they did not survive. The determination of the British was shown 
when men, who had been wounded in the first charge and been 
unable to return to their own line, joined the Scots in their mad 
rush to death. Those men had lain under fire twelve hours be- 
fore making their dying assault on the German trenches. It had 
been expected the Scotchmen would get into the opposing trenches 
and bomb and bayonet the Teutons out. Then reenforcements 
would be sent from the British line. But the artillery of King 
George was unable to check the devastating work of the kaiser's 
big guns and give the reenforcements a clear field through which 
to go to the aid of the attacking force. The result was that the 
Germans continued such a leaden hail between the lines that it 
was sending soldiers to certain death to order them to cross the 
zone of fire. The remnant of the Scottish regiments was recalled, 
and it lost as many men on its return as it had in its desperate 
struggle to reach the German trenches. 

Both the Kensingtons and the Scots found groups of German 
machine guns, doing most destructive work, that could have been 
rendered useless if the British had had a supply of high-explosive 
shells. Under the circumstances there was nothing for Sir Douglas 
Haig to do but to order his men all along the line to retire. 
They obeyed the order sullenly, and many of them were slain in 
their attempt to get back to their own trenches. But their com- 
rades felt they had not died wholly in vain ; for the woeful lack 
of lyddite shells thus became known in England and the indigna- 
tion thus aroused resulted in the appointment of a minister of 
munitions who organized the manufacture of the necessary ex- 
plosives on a scale heretofore unattempted by the British. A 
lesson had been learned, but at a fearful cost to life. 

The same lesson was being taught the British public at an- 
other section of the battle front. Its soldiers not only were unable 
to maintain a successful artillery fire, but the fact became so im- 
pressed on the German mind that the Teutons in the Ypres and 
Lille regions felt assured that their infantry had the British at 
their mercy. Sir John French, however, had a clever knowledge 
of human nature. He began his efforts to remedy the difficulty 
by telling the war correspondents his troubles. They spread 


the news. Then he secretly collected all of the available artillery 
in the Ypres region, together with his limited supply of shells, and 
was ready to deal such a blow to the Duke of Wurttemberg's 
army when it marched on Ypres the latter part of May, 1915, 
that it was necessary for the Germans to get reenf orcements 
through Belgium. This was a great surprise to the Teutons and 
cost them dearly. 



THE operation of this plan of Sir John French had an excellent 
effect in the Ypres region, but it had the opposite effect on the 
British who were trying to take Lille. Moreover it was necessary 
for the British to continue to occupy the attention of the left 
wing of the German army, under the command of the Crown 
Prince of Bavaria, in order to keep him from using his men 
against General Foch, who was attempting to push his way be- 
tween Arras and Lille. Inasmuch as the British artillery had 
proved ineffective because of its lack of enough and the proper 
kind of ammunition. Sir John French planned another surprise 
for the Germans. This time he selected the weapon which the 
Teutons seemed most to fear when it was in the hands of the 
British — ^the bayonet. The salient on the German front at Festu- 
bert, between La Bassee and Neuve Chapelle, was chosen for the 
proposed military feat. The territory occupied by the Teutons 
had the appearance, to the casual observer, of being lowlands 
on which were wrecked homes, farms, and trees. The actual con- 
ditions of this section of the country were much more serious for 
any body of troops which planned to make an attack. The ground 
was moist and muddy, in many places being crossed by treach- 
erous ditches filled with slimy water. Moreover the exact range 
of practically every square foot of it was known to the German 
artillerymen, whose guns were on the high ground to the west of 


the lowlands. The British were in trenches from seventy to three 
hundred yards from those of their enemy. If the men there could 
dash across the intervening space and get into the German 
trenches before being annihilated by the kaiser's cannon, they 
would use the bayonet with deadly effect, and, from past ex- 
periences, have reasonable hope of gaining a victory. It was de- 
cided to make such an attempt first on that part of the line be- 
tween Richebourg on the left and Festubert on the right. 

The British Seventh Division was sent south to support the at- 
tack which was to have been made on May 12, 1915. On that day 
it was too foggy for the aviators to see with any degree of ac 
curacy; so the movement was delayed. This gave time for the 
Canadian Division to be sent south and add their strength to the 
support. The German trenches, at this point where the attack 
was to be made, were occupied by the Seventh Westphalian Army 
Corps. This corps had lost many of its men at Neuve Chapelle ; 
and their places had been taken by youths who had not reached 
the development of manhood and whose immaturity and lack of 
military training greatly lessened the efficiency of this famous 
body of troops. 

Finally, on Saturday night. May 15, 1915, all conditions for the 
attack seemed favorable to the British. There was no moon and 
the sky was dark, though there was not that inky blackness that 
occasionally occurs under similar weather conditions. The Indian 
Corps stole from their trenches and began to go forward from 
Richebourg TAvoue. But the Germans were alert, and they il- 
lumined the movement with innumerable flares which made the 
Indians easy targets for the machine guns and rifles of the Teutons 
that part of the line. So quick was the work to repel the attack 
lat many of the Indians were slain as they were climbing out of 
leir own trenches. As a surprise attack at night, the British 
rere not making much of a success of their plan, but as a method 
»f gaining ground and keeping their enemy busy on that particu- 
ir part of the line the men of their Second Division were effec- 
ive. They dashed into the first line of German trenches and 
leared them out with the bayonet and hand grenade. The furor 
)f the attack took them on into the second line. By dawn the 


soldiers of the Second Division had driven a wedge into the 
German line. 

This wedge was widened and driven in harder by Sir Douglas 
Haig's old command^ — ^the First Corps. This corps had suffered 
heavy losses at the first battle of Ypres ; but the men who filled 
the gaps in the line were hardy young men who made excellent 
soldiers from the start. Added to their enthusiasm was a desire 
to show their ability as fighters, with the result that the British 
right wing was so effective that it, in a great measure, made up 
for the failure of the Indian troops. The center and the right, 
with bomb and bayonet, drove the Germans from the trenches ; 
and then together they forced their way into the Teutons* posi- 
tion 600 yards along a front 800 yards in length. Early the next 
morning, before daylight on May 16, 1915, the British Seventh 
Division forced its way into the German salient at Festubert. In 
the meantime the Germans were making hasty preparations for 
a counterattack. Sir John French's plan, however, had proved 
effective. It would have required a large supply of high-explosive 
Shells to have made much of an impression on the excellent de- 
fenses which the German soldiers had constructed on this part of 
the front. The British had no such supply of ammunition, and, 
even if they had had it, it is doubtful if they would have been able 
to demolish the formidable wire entanglements. Yet in this night 
attack with the bayonet the British troops had accomplished all 
they could have done if supplied with proper ammunition. In the 
desperate charge which they made no wire entanglement could 
stop the British soldiers. They threw their overcoats or blankets 
over the barbed wire and then climbed across the obstruction. 
The Seventh Division took three lines of trenches in this manner, 
until it was 12,000 yards back of the original line of its enemy. 

There were now two wedges driven into the German front, and 
the British desired to join them and make what might be termed 
a countersalient, or a salient running into the original salient of 
the Germans. But the space between the two horns of the British 
force was a network of trenches. The horns might prod and ir- 
ritate the Teutons, but they needed artillery again to rid the Ger- 
man breastworks of machine guns and demolish the obstructions 


which would cost too many lives to take in the same manner in 
which the British success had been won in its night attack. 
Nevertheless the British started in to bomb their way toward 
Festubert, and they even gained forty yards in this hazardous un- 
dertaking before they were forced to stop. If they had seemed to 
be an irresistible force, they had met what had every appearance 
of being an immovable body — and there was a limit to human 

By May 17, 1915, the British concluded that their most advisa- 
ble offensive was to clear the space between their two wedges by 
cutting off the Germans who held that part of their line. To do 
this the British attempted to cut off the German communication 
to the north from La Quinque Rue ; but, by that time, the Teutons 
had received reenf orcements ; and they rained such a shower of 
lead on the attacking force that the attempt had to be abandoned; 
but not until many heroic efforts had been made by the British 
ta succeed in their purpose. 

Many Germans were made prisoners at all stages of the fight- 
ing. The British bayonet seemed to strike them with terror, and 
the bombs were more potent in scattering them than were the 
orders of their commanders to repel the attacking force. Between 
Richebourg TAvoue and Le Quinque Rue is the farm Cour de 
TAvoue. In front of this farm the remains of a battalion of 
Saxons attempted to surrender. They had arrived on the line as 
reenf orcements to the Westphalians, and had been fighting val- 
iantly until their numbers were so decreased that they were un- 
able to hold out against their foes longer. Whether their com- 
manding officer ordered them to surrender or a common impulse 
dictated their action, they left their position and advanced toward 
the British. Not understanding their action, the attacking force 
ired upon the Saxons who were sufficiently numerous to give the 
[impression that they might be leading a counterattack. There- 
upon the Saxons dropped their guns and the firing from the Brit- 
iish side ceased, only to be taken up on the German side by the 
[Westphalians. This was followed by an attack on the would-be 
[prisoners by the German artillery until every soldier in the sur- 
rendering party was slain. This action horrified the British, but 


the Germans considered it a means of discipline which would 
have a salutary effect on any who might prefer the comforts of 
a prison camp to dying for the Fatherland. 

The British Seventh Division at Festubert continued to work 
south along the German trenches. Its bayonets and bombs cleared 
the way before it. The plan was for them to continue toward 
Rue d'Ouvert, Chapelle St. Roch, and Canteleux. In the mean- 
time the Second Division, on the left of the Seventh Division, was 
to fight its way to Rue du Marais and Violaines. The Indian con- 
tingent had received orders to keep in touch with the Third Di- 
V^ision. The Fifty-first Division was sent to Estaires to act as a 
support to the First Army. By the night of May 17, 1915, the 
British held all of the first line of German trenches from the 
south of Festubert to Richebourg TAvoue. For a part of that dis- 
tance the second and third lines of trenches had been taken and 
held; and still farther forward the British possessed many 
important points. Moreover the British soldiers were so in- 
spired with their success that they desired to press on in spite 
of the fact that the nature of the country was such that they were 
wet through and covered with mud. It was not all enthusiasm, 
however. Mingled with the desire for victory was a desire for 
revenge. The British on this part of the line were enraged by 
the use of gas at Ypres and the sinking of the Lusitania. 

On the night of May 17, 1915, the Fourth Cameron High- 
landers, a Territorial battalion, met with disaster. The men com- 
posing this unit were from Inverness-shire, Skye, and the Outer 
Islands. Many of them had been gamekeepers and hence were 
accustomed to outdoor life and the handling of guns, all of which 
aided them in saving the remnant of their command. They had 
been ordered to take some cottages, occupied by German soldiers 
as a makeshift fortification. The Cameronians on the way to the 
attack fell into a ditch which was both deep and wide. It was 
necessary for them to swim to get across the ditch in some places. 
In the meantime Highlanders were being slain by German shells 
and the rifle fire that the men in the cottages rained upon the 
Scots. One company was annihilated. Another company lost its 
way. The rear end of a German communicating trench was 


reached by a third company. Long before midnight this company 
was almost without ammunition. Two platoons reenforced it at 
midnight; but the reenforcements had no machine guns, which 
would have given at least temporary relief. Under the circum- 
stances the only thing for the Territorials to do was to retreat. 
The Germans made that quite as perilous a venture as the ad- 
vance had been. Only half of those who started for the cottages 
returned. Among the slain was the commander, and twelve other 
officers were also killed. 

The British, in spite of a cold rain, pushed on 1,200 yards north 
of the Festubert-La Quinque Rue road ; and took a defense 300 
yards to the southeast of the hamlet. Two farms west of the 
road and south of Richebourg rAvou§, the farm du Bois and the 
farm of the Cour de TAvoue, in front of which latter the sur- 
rendering Saxons were slain, had been held by the Germans 
with numerous machine guns. The British took both farms by 
nightfall and found, on counting their prisoners, that they then 
had a total of 608 as well as several machine guns. 

The Second and Seventh Divisions were withdrawn by Sir 
Douglas Haig on the following day, Wednesday, May 19, 1915. 
The Fifty-first Division and the Canadians took the places of the 
men who w^ere sadly in need of relief from active duty. Lieu- 
tenant General Alderson received the command of both divisions 
together with the artillery of both the Second and Seventh Di- 
visions. The cold, wet weather hampered operations and there 
was comparatively little activity, though hostilities by no means 
altogether ceased. Each side needed a little rest and time to fill 
jn gaps in their respective lines. Hence it was not until Sunday, 
[ay 23, that any fighting on a large scale took place. On that day 
le Seventh Prussian Army Corps made a desperate effort to 
)reak through that part of the British line held by the Canadians 
lear Festubert. The Prussians used their old tactics with the 
jult that the British shrapnel, rifle, and machine-gun fire 
>Iowed great holes in their ranks. The Teutons in this instance 
rere without adequate artillery support, for many of their bat- 
jries had been made useless by the British. From then on to 
[ay 25, 1915, there were several small engagements in which the 


British made gains. Then Sir John French concluded to end the 
activity of his men on this part of the front. In that connection 
he made the following statement: "I had now reasons to con- 
sjider that the battle which was commenced by the First Army on 
May 9 and renewed on the 16th, having attained for the moment 
the immediate object I had in view, should not be further 
actively proceeded with. 

"In the battle of Festubert the enemy was driven from a posi- 
tion which was strongly intrenched and fortified, and ground 
was won on a front of four miles to an average depth of 600 



THE British had discovered the futility of attempting to smash 
through the German lines without an adequate supply of 
high-explosive shells with which to destroy the heavy wire 
entanglements. Moreover, in maintaining a curtain of fire be- 
tween the German lines and potential reenforcements, it was 
necessary to increase the artillery arm of the service. At this 
time the Germans could fire four shells to one by the British. An- 
other very essential equipment in which the British were lacking 
was machine guns. The German army had developed machine- 
gun warfare apparently to its highest power. They not only 
used it to increase their volume of fire, but also as a means of 
saving their infantry. When, for any reason, it was found ex- 
pedient to move infantry, a few machine-gun crews would take 
the place of the soldiers with the rifle and maintain a fire which 
would be almost as effective in checking the British advance as 
the infantry had been. The British had no such number of ma- 
chine guns. They lacked this necessary part of their equipment 
just as they lacked shells, cannon, aircraft, and other war ma- 
terial which the Germans had developed and accumulated in large 
quantities under the supervision of the German General Staff. 


The German munition factories had been making and storing 
enormous supplies for an army of several millions of men. On 
the other hand the British had believed in the excellence of their 
comparatively small army to such an extent that it required 
all of the fighting from the time their troops landed on the 
Continent up to Festubert to convince them that they must make 
and maintain a military machine at least equal, if not superior, 
to the one her foes possessed. It is true the British needed 
more men in the ranks, but what was needed more was 
large additions to the supply of machine guns, artillery^ and 

For those reasons the British generals avoided clashes with 
the Germans after the battle of Festubert, except when it was 
necessary to hold as many of the Germans as possible to the 
British part of the western front. This plan was maintained 
throughout the summer of 1915. In the meantime the Germans 
were constructing, beyond their trenches, the most elaborate 
series of field fortifications in the history of warfare. The Ger- 
man staff realized that the time was coming when the British 
would again take the offensive. When that time arrived the 
Germans would thus be prepared to make every foot of ground 
gained as costly as possible to their foes. In fact they had reason 
for believing that it would be almost impossible for their oppo- 
nents to gain ground where it was held by such seemingly im- 
pregnable works. 

An attack at La Bassee in the first weeks in June, 1915, started 
with the British Second Army making a pretended advance in 
^the Ypres region. The British in the forest of Ploegsteert drove 

mine into the German lines and blew it up. The explosion fol- 
>wed by a British charge, which resulted in the taking of a part 
)f the German trenches. This forest extended northwest of 
lille and south of Messines. Under the ground in this section the 

ippers had built a city, whose streets were named for the 

loroughfare of London. Thus there was "Regent Street," 
''Piccadilly Circus," "Leicester Square," and many others. There 
^as also a "Kensington Garden," in which grew wild flowers 
transplanted from the forest by the soldiers. 


The Germans had been driven out of the forest in the fall of 
1914 when they made their dash to reach Calais ; but their 
trenches were only about 400 yards beyond the eastern edge. 
The earth here was especially adaptable for mines, and both 
sides made many attempts to work destruction by tunneling for- 
ward. In this activity it was soon found necessary to Jiave men 
in advanced positions in the tunnels to listen to the mining 
operations of their opponents. As soon as such operations were 
discovered, a countertunnel was driven in that direction and a 
mine exploded, thereby destroying the enemy's tunnel and burying 
his sappers. Sometimes, however, the men in the countertunnel 
cut through to the other excavation and engaged in a hand-to » 
hand conflict beneath the surface of the earth. Then primitive 
methods were used. Though mining had taken place on other 
sections of the western front, as at Hill 60, it was in this forest 
area that it was probably brought to its highest development. 

The British mine here, as noted above, on June 6, 1915, blew up 
the German trenches, and the British charged into the crater and 
drove the Germans out with bayonet and bomb. A similar crater 
was the result of the mining at La Bassee. Five mines at the 
end of tunnels constructed by the Germans did not go far enough 
toward the British trenches, and when the explosions occurred 
the trenches remained intact. 

The sappers, however, had other things to contend with ; this 
was the case when a tunnel was driven toward the German 
trenches between Rue du Bois and Rue d'Ouvert, near the La 
Bassee Canal. Water was found below the German intrench- 
ments. The British managed to keep the water out of the tunnel 
by using sandbags. Then they planted enough dynamite to 
blow up a large part of the German force. The two trench lines 
were very close together on this part of the front ; and, to prevent 
accidents, the British left their trenches near the mine before it 
was fired. 

On the night of June 6, 1915, the mine tore open the trenches 
of both sides, and buried one of the British magazines which 
was filled with hand grenades and killed several British bomb 
throwers. At about the same moment another supply of British 


bombs was exploded when it was struck by a shell from a Ger- 
man howitzer. This occurred at a place on the line called Duck's 
Bill, and resulted in the British being without an adequate supply 
of hand grenades. The British troops in this action were the 
soldiers of a British division and a Canadian brigade. The latter 
included the First Ontario Regiment, the Second and Fourth 
Canadian Battalions, the Third Toronto Regiment, and the East 

The Ontario regiment was directed against a fortified part of 
the German line which was called Stony Mountain. To the south 
of Stony Mountain, about 150 yards, was another fortified posi- 
tion called Dorchester. This also was to be taken by the Ontario 
men. If they succeeded in their work the right flank of the 
British division would be protected. But it was Stony Mountain 
that was of most importance to the British. Its machine guns 
and its northern defenses menaced the route which the British 
must take to make an advance. In order to prevent the Germans 
from giving their undivided attention to the Canadians, the 
British division on the left made an advance against the Teutons 
north of Stony Mountain. The British artillery had been shell- 
ing this part of the German line day and night many days as a 
preparation for this advance. Its projectiles crashed into the 
brick fields near La Bassee, and in front of the wrecked village 
of Quinchy. 

The German machine-gun crews were hidden behind the brick 
stacks which were square blocks of burned clay upon which the 
British shells burst without perceptible effect. The shells that 
went over the stacks, however, did much damage. Beyond the 
brick field to the north were the ruins of farm buildings which 
were also hiding places for the Germans and their machine guns. 
All the buildings back of the German line had been turned into 
fortresses whose underground works were concreted and con- 
nected with their headquarters by telephone. While the British 
artillery was attempting to destroy these fortresses it was also 
hurling lyddite shells into the trenches. 

The German artillery fire greatly exceeded the British in 

volume. Nevertheless the British forces were in the more com- 

10— War St. 8 


fortable position. They had comparatively little to do except 
wait until they were needed, which would be when their artillery 
had completed the preparation for the inevitable charge. On the 
other hand the German soldier had a nerve-racking part to play* 
He knew from the preparation that an attack in force was about 
to be made ; but he did not know when it would occur nor where. 
Hence it was necessary for him to be constantly on the alert. 
Many of the Germans were under arms at all hours of the day and 
night. In fact few of them on that part of their line got any reaJ 
rest during the week in which the bombardment continued. The 
section between the two lines of trenches was illuminated at night, 
and the cannonade kept up so that there was no opportunity 
for the Germans to repair the havoc made by the British shells. 

The suspense was terminated on the evening of June 15, 1915, 
by an additional flight of projectiles from the British guns. 
Every piece of British ordnance on that part of the line was 
worked at top speed. The Germans, knowing that this immedi- 
ately preceded an infantry charge, used their artillery to stop it. 
But the British charge formed in their trenches, with the Cana- 
dians on their right. In addition to the shrapnel the Germans 
made breaks in the lines of their foes by the use of machine guns, 
but the breaks were quickly filled. On some parts of the front 
the British and Canadians were successful and reached the 
trenches. In all the captured trenches extended from Rue du 
Bois to Rue d'Ouvert. 

In the meantime those Canadians who had been directed 
against Stony Mountain and Dorchester were doing heroic work. 
The First Company of the Ontario Regiment charged through 
the debris of the mine explosion, only to run into the deadly hail 
sent at them by the machine guns. But the Canadians were 
determined to complete their task, and they took Dorchester 
and the connecting trench. The fire was too heavy for them to 
reach Stony Mountain. A group of bombers made a dash for- 
ward, but were shot down before they could get near enough to 
use their weapons. 

The second and third companies rushed forward, suffering 
severely from the deluge of lead, but some of their men got into 


the German second line and then began to bomb theii way to 
right and left. The captured first trench was utilized by the 
attacking force. From that vantage the advance was led by a 
machine gun which was followed by a group of bomb throwers. 
In working forward the machine-gun base became lost when the 
man who had it was slain. Thereupon a Canadian "lumberjack" 
named Vincent became the base, the machine gun being fired 
from his back. But the German bomb throwers drove the attack- 
ing force out of the trench. The Germans kept a rain of lead 
between the Canadians and the British line of trenches with the 
result that it was almost suicide for a man to attempt to return 
for bombs. Nevertheless many braved the ordeal. Only one was 
successful. He, Private Smith of Southampton, Ontario, seemed 
to bear a charmed life, for he made the trip five times. The Third 
Canadian Battalion was sent forward to reenforce the Ontario 
Regiment which had lost most of its officers, but such a pressure 
^of German forces were brought to bear on the Canadians that 
!the reenforcements were unavailing, and the Canadians were 
forced to relinquish all they had gained, and return to their own 
ptrenches that night. 

The retreat was a desperate undertaking; the Germans then 
:had the Canadians in the open and added heavily to the Cana- 
'dian's death roll. On the other side of Stony Mountain the 
'British had met with no better success than the Canadians. 
^Having started their enemies back, the Germans massed for a 
counterattack and drove them back a mile, but not without a 

jrrific struggle. The battle field was lighted by the peculiar 
[fireworks used for such purposes and bursting of shells. Jets of 

lame shot forth from machine guns and rifles. In many places 
the intermittent light disclosed deadly hand-to-hand conflicts. 

luddenly the Germans concentrated their fire on a portion of 

leir lost first line of trenches, and the trenches of their ene- 

[mies who held them were no more. Having the British and 

Canadians defeated, as they believed, the Germans proceeded 

^to add to their victory by storming the British and Canadian 

inches. They met with resistance, however, that drove them 



At daybreak on June 16, 1915, the artillery on both sides re- 
sumed firing on a large scale. Suddenly, in the afternoon, the 
British fire increased preparatory to another charge. This time 
the British commander had selected a smaller section for his 
attack. This was at Rue d'Ouvert, and the men who had been 
selected to make the charge were the Territorials and the Liver- 
pool Irish. They got into the first line of German trenches 
which the Teutons shelled to such an extent that the remnant of 
the attacking force had to retreat. Then the Second Gordon 
Highlanders and other Scotch soldiers made a gallant charge at 
the same place, Rue d'Ouvert, on June 18, 1915, but were forced 
to retire to their own trenches. 

These attacks on this part of the German front resulted in 
repulses for those who made them; but, at the same time, they 
helped the Allies win victories elsewhere by keeping the German 
troops on that part of the line from going to reenf orce those who 
were being hard pressed by the French. In this manner the 
British and Canadians, who fought so valiantly and with so little 
apparent success at Stony Mountain and Rue d'Ouvert, were in a 
measure responsible for the French victories at Angres, Souchez, 
and the Labyrinth. The Crown Prince of Bavaria could not hold 
out against both the French and British, but he believed it was 
more important for him to check the British, because a victory 
for them would threaten Lille to a greater extent. 



THE next action of importance on the British front occurred 
at the Chateau of Hooge on the Menin road about three miles 
east of Ypres. Here had been the headquarters of Sir John 
French and Sir Douglas Haig at the first battle of Ypres. From 
the Chateau Sir John French had seen the British line break at 
Gheluvelt, thereby opening the road for the Germans to Calais. 


That opening, however, had been closed by the Worcesters. 
After the Germans began to use their deadly gas in the spring of 
1915 they again took possession of Hooge, and used the Menin 
road for a forward movement which threatened what was left 
of Ypres. 

The Duke of Wurttemberg was in command of that part of the 
line opposed to the British, and his forces extended from near 
Pilkem in the north to near Hill 60 in the south, in the form of 
a crescent. He made use of the asphyxiating gas cloud and gas 
bombs so frequently on this part of the front that the British 
soldiers became expert in donning their hoodlike masks and in 
using respirators. Moreover, the British were constantly on the 
alert for the appearance of the poison gas. So that this method 
of attack was much less effective. Before the Germans dis- 
covered how well the British had prepared themselves against 
the gas, they met with disaster twice when using it. On both 
occasions they had followed their gas cloud expecting to find 
their foes writhing on the ground in choking agony — an easy 
prey for an attack. 

But the British had put on their curious-appearing headgear, 
and were waiting for the men whom they knew would be f ollow* 
ing the cloud at a safe distance. As soon as the Germans were 
near enough the British turned loose everything that would hurl 
a projectile large or small. By the time the gas cloud had 
cleared, or, to be more accurate, passed on to the rear of the 
British line and spent itself, the only Germans to be seen were 
in the piles of dead and wounded in front of the British most 
advanced trenches. The first time this occurred did not teach the 
Germans its lesson sufficiently well. A second time the Germans 
did not follow their gas cloud so closely. The gas-filled shells, 
however, the British found more difficult. They did not give 
warning of their coming as did the appearance of the com- 
paratively slow-moving gas cloud. Thus in the first week of 
May, 1915, Hill 60 was taken by the Germans in a bombardment 
of asphyxiating shells. The bombardment had been immediately 
followed by a charge of bomb throwers who made an assault on 
the hill from three sides at once. That forced the British to 


retreat to a trench line at the foot of the hill, and gave the top of 
the hill to the Germans who immediately set up a lookout post 
for their artillery back of the Zandvoord ridge. 

This part of the British line was under the command of Sir 
Herbert Plumer. His troops occupied themselves from the first 
week in May to the middle of August, 1915, in fighting in the 
Hooge district. Most of this fighting was important only be- 
cause it kept the Germans busy on that section of the line, and 
prevented them from being able to reenforce the Crown Prince 
of Bavaria or adding men to the force that was driving the 
Russians eastward. 

The men, fresh from the training camps, fought alongside of 
hardened veterans and learned much from them. From being 
what amounted to auxiliaries in these actions the new troops 
became hardened to actual fighting conditions. For this reason 
the personnel of the British troops on this part of the line was 
changed frequently. This was especially true at Hooge. Prin- 
cess Patricia's Canadian Regiment occupied the Chateau and 
village of Hooge on May 8, 1915. The "Princess Pats," as they 
were known at home, turned over their quarters to the Ninth 
Lancers who were followed by the Fifteenth Hussars and the 
Second Camerons. 

On May 24, 1915, the Germans made a great gas attack. They 
had placed along the line from St. Julien to Hooge a great num- 
ber of gas tanks. They then started a bombardment with as- 
phyxiating shells. When the bombardment was well under way 
the tanks were opened. The ensuing cloud was five miles long 
and forty feet high ; and it floated over the British trenches from 
3 a. m. to 7 a. m. The cloud was followed by three columns of 
infantry, who dashed forward under the protection of the shells 
of their artillery. But the Germans made gains in only two 
places — at Hooge and to the north of Wieltje. For the most 
part the British regained by counterattacks what they lost; but 
they were unable to retake the Chateau of Hooge, though the 
Ninth Lancers and the Fifteenth Hussars made a heroic attempt 
to regain it. Thereupon the Third Dragoons received orders to 
attempt to retake the Chateau of Hooge. They went into th^ 


second line of the British trenches to the south of the Menin 
road on May 29, 1915. The Germans bombarded the trenches 
with high-explosive shells while from the German trenches a 
torrent of small arms fire poured. In spite of the continued hail 
of lead, the Dragoons held to their position though their trenches 
were wrecked. 

Early in the morning of May 31, the British charged and drove 
their enemy from the ruins of the Chateau and its stables. The 
Germans turned all of their artillery on that part of the line 
against Hooge, and when the bombardment was finished there 
was only a heap of ruins left. The British withdrew from the 
Chateau, but only for a short distance. 

The bombardment was renewed on June 1; on that day the 
iGerman infantry tried to dislodge the Dragoons, but the attempt 
rwas unsuccessful. Again, on June 2, the artillery was used, 
|the German shells being hurled a part of the time at the rate 
f,of twenty a minute. Under the cover of this terrific bombard- 
ment a part of the German infantry charged from the Belle- 
iwaarde Lake region. They got to the Chateau before a British 
[battery opened fire on them. Again they entered the ruins and 
made a dash out on the opposite side, where they were met by 
jmore machine-gun fire. Three times they tried to escape, but 
^practically all of them were slain. Other attempts were made 
[by the Germans that afternoon, but none of them was successful. 

The Dragoons were relieved on June 3, 1915, and their places 
[were taken by a much larger force. It included the Third 
IWorcesters, the First Wiltshires, the First Northumberland 
[Fusiliers, the First Lincolnshires, the Royal Fusiliers, the Royal 
Scots Fusiliers, and the Liverpool Scottish, a territorial organ- 

The British artillery was concentrated in the neighborhood of 
[ooge and started a bombardment on June 16. After a fairly 
idequate preparation by cannonade, the infantry charged 
le German line for a thousand yards near the Chateau, and 

)k a part of the second line of trenches. Again the British 
>ayonet and bomb had won, though in this attack the greater 
jredit must be given to the bomb. The Germans made an attempt 


to retrieve the day by battering the British out of the trenches 
they had won. To do this the German artillery used a plentiful 
supply of high-explosive shells. They continued the attempt for 
twenty-four hours ; but all they succeeded in doing was driving 
the British back to the first line of German trenches where they 
waited for the inevitable attack of the infantry which was re- 
pulsed. Finally the Germans seemed inclined to give up trying 
to accomplish much on this part of their front. 

In the first week of July, 1915, the British took two hundred 
yards of German trenches, eighty prisoners and three trench 
mortars. The German commander now turned once more to 
Hooge. An additional reason for his renewed interest in that 
place was the fact that the British engineers, on July 20, blew 
up a mine west of the Chateau, thereby making a great crater 
in which the British infantry made themselves comparatively 
secure. The crater was one hundred and fifty feet wide and 
fifty feet deep. 

The Germans made an unsuccessful attempt to take the crater 
on July 21, 1915; and tried again on July 24. The Duke of 
Wiirttemberg found his men making comparatively little prog- 
ress. It is true that the British had not made much more. The 
gas attacks had gained ground before the British had learned 
how to avoid the more severe effects of the poison. The result 
of experience brought into existence a new device. It has been 
called a flame projector, and has been described as a portable 
tank which is filled with a highly inflammable coal-tar product. 
The contents of the tank were pumped through a nozzle at the 
end of which was a lighting arrangement. The flame could be 
thrown approximately forty yards. 

A large supply of these flame projectors arrived in the Ger- 
man trenches on July 30, 1915. The action began with the 
usual bombardment of high-explosive shells. Other shells filled 
with the burning liquid were also used. At the height of the 
bombardment, the British lines were flame swept. No prepara- 
tion had been made for such an attack ; and the only thing that 
the British could do was to get out of the way of the flame. 
Thus they lost their trenches in the crater and at the Chateau 


and village of Hooge. The method of attack so infuriated the 
British that they made a desperate counterattack with the result 
that they regained most of what they lost with the exception of 
about five hundred yards of trenches. 



WE have thus far dealt chiefly with the British operations 
in the western front, but it must not be assumed that the 
French, in the meantime, were idle. On the contrary, their 
operations, covering the far greater territory, were proportion- 
ally more important than those of their allies. 

During the winter months artillery duels along the entire 
Franco-German front were kept up without intercession. These 
were varied by assaults on exposed points which were in many 
cases repeatedly taken and lost by the opposing forces. 

The French staff applied itself with the utmost vigor to the 
accumulation of large stacks of munitions and supplies for the 
production of active movements when weather conditions should 
permit. For the most part, however, the Franco-German 
operations were desultory movements occurring in various por- 
tions of the long line. Actions of the first importance began 
r with the attacks in the St. Mihiel salient in April, 1915. 

§0n the night of February 6, 1915, Germans exploded three 
ines at La Boisselle in front of the houses in the village which 
le French occupied, but the attempt of the Germans to advance 
as checked after a small amount of ground had been gained. 
The next day a counterattack carried out by a French company 
retook this ground, and inflicted a loss of 200 men. The French 
seized a wood north of Mesnil-les-Hurles on the night of 
February 7. Here the Germans had strongly established them- 


During the first part of February, 1915, the Germans made a 
series of assaults on the Marie Therese works in the Argonne. 
Their force comprised about a brigade ; but the French repulsed 
all attacks. Both sides suffered severe losses. On the night of 
February 9, there was an infantry engagement at La Fontenelle 
in the Ban de Sapt. Two battalions of Germans took part in 
the action and gained some ground which the French regained 
by counterattacks on the following day. 

Actions in the Vosges continued in spite of heavy snow. The 
French carried Hill 937, eight hundred meters northwest of the 
farm of Sudelle, in the region north of Hartmannsweilerkopf. 

About February 9, 1915, there was considerable activity on the 
part of the German artillery in Champagne, especially before 
Rheims. The city being again bombarded. There was also a lively 
cannonade in the region of Lens, around Albert, between the 
Avre and Oise, in the neighborhood of Soissons, and at Vemeuil, 
northeast of Vailly. In Lorraine the Germans, after having 
pushed back the French main guard, succeeded in occupying the 
height of the Xon beacon and the hamlet of Norroy. The Ger- 
mans were repulsed by a counterattack as far as the slopes 
north of the beacon. 

The French on February 18 made some progress in the region 
of Boureuilles on Hill No. 263. They also gained a wood south 
of the Vois de Cheppy. At the same time French troops took 
four hundred meters of trenches north of Malancourt and about 
as much south of the Bois de Forges. The Germans made five 
unsuccessful counterattacks, near Bolincourt, to retake the 
trenches which the French had captured. On the same day, the 
French recaptured the village of Norroy. In the Vosges, the 
French repulsed two infantry attacks north of Wisembach, in 
the region of the Col de Bonhomme, and consolidated their posi- 
tions, progressing methodically north and south of the farm of 
Sudelle. The bombardment of Rheims was continued during 
these days. On the heights of the Meuse, at Les Eparges, 
three German counterattacks on the trenches which tha French 
had won on February 17 were stopped by the French artil- 
lery fire. 


In the Vosges, between Lusse and Wisembach, in the Bon- 
homme region, the Germans, after succeeding in getting a foot- 
ing on Hill 607, were dislodged on the morning of February 19, 
1915. The French held their position on the height notwith- 
standing the violent efforts to dislodge them. An attack by the 
Germans on Le Sattel north of the Sudelle farm was also 

In the evening of February 19, 1915, the Germans delivered 
their fourth counterattack against the trenches which the French 
took at Les Eparges, but the French artillery again beat them 
back. The Germans were also unsuccessful in a counterattack 
on Hill 607, at Sattel, south of the FecKt. They succeeded in 
gaining a footing on the eastern spur of Reichsackerkopf . 

After having repulsed a sixth counterattack by the Germans 
at Les Eparges, the French on February 10, 1915, delivered a 
fresh attack which enabled them to enlarge and complete the 
progress they made on the day before. They took three machine 
guns, two trench mortars, and made two hundred prisoners, 
among whom were several officers. 

They also repulsed a counterattack of the Germans and then 
took all of their trenches to the north and east of the wood which 
had been captured by the French on the day before. Two other 
counterattacks were repulsed, and the French made fresh prog-- 
ress, particularly to the north of Mesnil, where they captured 
two machine guns and one hundred prisoners. The Germans 
made their seventh unsuccessful counterattack on Les Eparges 
on February 21. The French advanced posts fell back on the 
main line in Alsace on both banks of the Fecht; but the main 
line was strongly held, and the Germans, attacking in serriec? 
and deep formations, suffered heavy losses. 

On the Belgian front the French batteries demolished one of 
I the German heavy guns near Lombaertzyde on February 22, 
1915. On the same day the French artillery dispersed German 
troops and convoys between the Lys and the Aisne. The French 
imade progress on the Souain-Beausejour front, taking a line of 
^ trenches and two woods, and repulsed two particularly violent 
counterattacks. Many prisoners were taken by the French in 


this action. In the Argonne the French artillery and infantry 
had the better of the almost continuous fighting. This was 
especially true near Fontaine-aux-Charmes and Marie Therese, 
as well as at the Bois Bolante. 

The bombardment of Rheims continued on February 22, 
lasting for a first period of six hours, and a second period of 
five hours. One thousand five hundred shells were fired into 
all quarters of the town. The cathedral was made a special 
target and suffered severely. The interior of the vaulted root 
which had resisted up to this time, fell. Twenty houses were 
set on fire and twenty of the civilian population were killed. 

The French captured more trenches in the region of Beause- 
jour and held their gains of previous fighting, on February 23, 
1915. Their batteries blew up a German ammunition store to 
the northwest of Verdun at Drillancourt, in the region of the 
Bois de Forges, on the same day, February 23, 1915, and stopped 
an attempted German attack in Alsace from the village of Stoss- 

There was an action of some importance in the Wood of Mal- 
ancourt, on February 26, 1915, when the Germans sprayed the 
French advanced trenches with burning liquid. The French 
troops evacuated them, the soldiers being severely burned before 
they could escape. A counterattack was immediately made. 
This checked the German advance. On the same day, in the 
region of Verdun and on the heights of the Meuse, the French 
heavy artillery enveloped with its fire the German artillery, 
wrecked some guns, exploded about twenty wagons or depots, 
annihilated a detachment, and destroyed an entire encampment. 

In Champagne the French on the night of February 26, 19lS, 
captured five hundred meters of German trenches to the north 
of Mesnil-Ies-Hurles. 

On February 28, 1915, Rheims was again bombarded and still 
again on March 2, 1915. About fifty shells fell on the town. In 
the Argonne, on March 2, 1915, in the Bagatelle-Marie Therese 
sector, there was mine and infantry fighting in an advanced 
trench which the French reoccupied after they had been forced 
to abandon it. At the same time in the region of Vauquois, the 


French made some progress and held the ground captured in 
spite of the counterattacks of the Germans. The French also 
took some prisoners. In the Vosges, at La Chapelotte, they cap- 
tured trenches and gained three hundred meters of ground. 

The bombardment of Rheims was continued on March 4, 1915, 
and lasted all day, a shell falling about every three minutes. 
While the bombardment was in progress the Germans captured 
an advanced trench from the French to the north of Arras, near 
Notre Dame de Lorette; but in the Argonne the French made 
fresh progress in the region of Vauquois. On the following 
day, March 5, however, the French made successful counter- 
attacks in the region of Notre Dame de Lorette. The Germans 
lost the advanced positions which they had taken from the 
French and held them for two days. At Hartmannsweilerkopf, 
in Alsace, the French captured a trench, a small fort, and two 
machine guns. They also repulsed a counterattack opposite 
Uffholz, and blew up an ammunition store at Cernay. On the 
same night, the French drove back the German advanced posts 
which were trying to establish themselves on the Sillakerkopf, a 
spur east of Hohneck. 

The French continued to gain ground, on March 7, to the 

north of Arras in the region of Notre Dame de Lorette, where 

their attacks carried some German trenches. The German losses 

were considerable. During this first week in March, 1915, the 

French carried successively, to the west of Miinster, the two 

summits of the Little and the Great Reichaelerkopf. The Ger- 

^mans made two counterattacks starting from Muhlbach and 

Itossweiler ; but they were unsuccessful. On the right bank of 

le Fecht the French captured Imburg, one kilometer south- 

ist of Sultzern. This success was completed farther to th^ 

lorth by the capture of Hill 856 to the south of the Hutes 

'utles. Finally, at Hartmannsweilerkopf the French repelled a 

counterattack delivered by a German battalion which suffered 

leavy losses and left numerous prisoners in the hands of the 


On March 8, 1915, the French gained two hundred meters 
on the ridge northeast pf Mesnil which they added to tHe gains 


of the previous day. Here the French carried a German reaoubt, 
took a revolver gun and three machine guns, and made some 
prisoners. The Germans had armored shelters supplied with 
revolver guns and very deep subterranean chambers. In the 
Argonne, between Four-de-Paris and Bolante, the French de- 
livered an attack which made them masters of the first line of 
German trenches of more than two hundred meters in length. 

To the north of Rheims in front of the Bois de Luxembourg, 
the Germans attempted, on March 14, to carry one of the French 
advanced trenches, but were repulsed. On the same day, be- 
tween Four-de-Paris and Bolante in the Argonne, the French 
gained three hundred meters of trenches, and took some 
prisoners. Two counterattacks which the Germans made were 

In the region of Lombaertzyde on March 15, the French artil- 
lery very effectively bombarded the German works. When the 
Germans attempted to recapture the small fort which was taken 
from them on the night of March 1 they were repulsed and left 
fifty dead. The French losses were small. To the north of 
Arras, a brilliant attack by the French infantry enabled them to 
capture, by a single effort, three lines of trenches on the spur 
of Notre Dame de Lorette, and to reach the edge of the plateau. 
The French captured one hundred prisoners including several 
officers. They also destroyed two machine guns and blew up 
an ammunition store. Farther to the south, in the region of 
Eeurie-Roclincourt, near the road from Lille, they blew up 
several German trenches and prevented their reconstruction. In 
Champagne the French made fresh progress. They gained 
ground in the woods to the northeast of Souain and to the north- 
west of Perthes. They also repulsed two German counterattacks 
in front of Ridge 196, northeast of Mesnil, and extended their 
position in that sector. In the region of Bagatelle in the Argonne 
two German counterattacks were repulsed. The French de- 
molished a blockhouse there, "and established themselves on the 
site of it. Between Four-de-Paris and Bolante the Germans at- 
tempted two counterattacks which failed. At Vauquois the 
French infantry delivered an attack which gave it possession of 


the western part of the village. Here they made prisoners. At 
the Bois-le-Pretre, northeast of Pont-a-Mousson, the Germans 
blew up with a mine four of the French advanced trenches which 
were completely destroyed. The Germans gained a footing 
there, but the French retook the first two trenches and a half of 
the third. Between the Bois-le-Pretre and Pont-a-Mousson, in 
the Haut de Rupt, the Germans made an attack which was 

In Champagne, before Hill 196, northeast of Mesnil, on March 
19, 1915, the Germans, after violently bombarding the French 
position, made an infantry attack which was repulsed with 
heavy losses. 

In the Woevre, in the Bois Mortmore, on March 20, 1915, the 
French artillery destroyed a blockhouse and blew up several 
ammunition wagons and stores. At La Boisselle, northeast of 
Albert, the Germans, after a violent bombardment, attempted a 
night attack which was repulsed with large losses. 

The Germans bombarded the Cathedral of Soissons again on 
March 21, 1915, firing twenty-seven shells and causing severe 
damage to the structure. On the same day Rheims was bom- 
barded, fifty shells falling there. 

Near Bagatelle the French, on March 22, blew up three mines ; 
and two companies of their troops stormed a German trench 
in which they maintained their position in spite of a strong 
counterattack. Five hundred yards from there, the Germans, 
after exploding two mines, and bombarding the French trenches, 
rushed to an attack on a front of about two hundred and fifty 
yards. After some very hot hand-to-hand fighting the assailants 
were hurled back in spite of the arrival of their reenforcements. 

le French artillery caught them under its fire as they were 

tiling back, and inflicted very heavy losses. 

The French then retreated some fifteen meters at Vauquois 
b March 23, 1915, when the Germans sprayed one of their 
'enches with inflammable liquid. 





THERE were some weak places in the French line from 
Switzerland to the North Sea ; and one of them was that part 
in the region between the Forest of the Argonne and Rheims. 
G^eral Langle de Gary was in command of the army which held 
this section. It requires no military genius to comprehend that the 
French colter and the right wing from Belfort to Verdun were 
not safe until the Germans had been forced back across the Aisne 
at every place. The French general had made an effort to drive 
the Germans under General von Einem from Champagne Pouil- 
leuse. The preliminary effort had been to stop the Germans from 
using the railroad which ran from near the Nort to Varennes 
through the Forest of the Argonne and across the upper Aisne 
to Bazancourt. 

After the battle of the Marne, the crown prince's army, severely 
handled by the Third French Army under General Sarrail, 
pushed hastily toward the north and established itself on a line 
running perpendicularly through the Argonne Forest, at about 
ten or fifteen kilometers from the road connecting Ste. Menehould 
with Verdun. Almost immediately there developed a series of 
fights that lasted during a whole year and were really among the 
bloodiest and most murderous combats of the war. The German 
army in the Argonne, commanded by the crown prince, whose 
headquarters had long been established at Stenay, consisted of 
the finest German troops, including, among others, the famous 
Sixteenth Corps from Metz, which, with the Fifteenth Corps 
from Strassburg, is considered the cream of the Germanic forces. 
This corps was commanded by the former governor of Metz, 
General von Mudra, an expert in all branches of warfare relating 
to fortresses and mines. Specially reenforced by battalions of 
sharpshooters and a division of Wurttembergers, the Twenty- 
Seventh, accustomed to forest warfare, this corps made the most 


Slllllllllll Illllllll 



violent efforts from the end of September, 1914, to throw the 
French troops back to the south and seize the road to Verdun. 
The crown prince evidently meant to sever this route and the 
adjoining highway, leading from Verdun to Ste. Menehould. The 
road then turns to the south and joins at Revigny, the main line 
of Bar-le-Duc to Paris via Chalons, forming, in fact, the only 
possible line of communication for the fortress of Verdun. The 
other line, running from Verdun to St. Mihiel, was rendered use- 
less after the Germans had fixed themselves at St. Mihiel in 
September, 1914. 

Up to the first months of 1916 there was only a small local rail- 
way that could be used between Revigny and Ste. Menehould by 
Triaucourt. Of the two big lines, one was cut by the Germans, 
and the other was exposed to the fire of their heavy artillery. 

The violence of the German attacks in the Argonne prove that 
so long ago as September, 1914, they already dreamt of taking 
Verdun. Their aim was to force the French troops against Ste. 
Menehould and invest the fortress on three sides to bring about 
its fall. 

These Argonne battles were invested with a particular interest 
and originality. They were in progress for a whole year, in a 
thick forest of almost impenetrable brushwood, split with numer- 
ous deep ravines and abrupt, slippery precipices. The humidity 
of the forest is excessive, the waters pouring down from high 
promontories. The soldiers who struggled here practically spent 
two winters in the water. 

One can hardly imagine the courage and heroism necessary to 
bear the terrible hardships of fighting under such conditions. 
All the German soldiers made prisoners by the French describe 
life in the Argonne as a hideous nightmare. 

From the end of September, 1914, the Germans delivered day 
and night attacks, generally lasting ten days. These attacks were 
made with forces of three or four battalions up to a division or 
a division and a half. In each attack the Germans aimed at a 
very limited objective — ^to capture the first or second line of 
trenches, to seize some particular fortified point. That object 
once attained, the Germans held on there, consolidated the occu- 

ll—War St. 3 


pied terrain, fortified their new positions and prepared for 
another push forward. It was thus by a process of nibbling the 
French trenches bit by bit that the Germans hoped to attain 
the Verdun-Ste. Menehould line. 

The tactics employed in these combats were those suited to 
forest fighting; sapping operations methodically and minutely 
carried out to bring the German trenches as near as possible 
to the French; laying small mines to be exploded at a certain 
hour. Two or three hours before an attack the French positions 
were bombarded by trench mortars and especially heavy mintf 

At the short distances the effect would naturally be to cause 
considerable damage; trenches and their parapets were demol- 
ished, shelters, screening reserves, were torn open. At that 
moment when the attack is to be launched, the German artillery 
drops the "fire curtain'' behind the enemy trenches to prevent 
reenf orcements from arriving. Such are the tactics almost con- 
stantly employed by the Germans. 

Despite their most furious efforts during the winter of 1914 
and the spring and summer of 1915, in at least forty different 
attacks, the German gains were very insignificant, and if one 
considers the line they held after the battle of the Mame and 
compares it with their present position, one may gather some 
idea of how little progress they have made. 

It was in June and July, 1915, that the Germans displayed 
their main efforts in the Argonne. Their three great attacks 
were made with greater forces than ever before (two or three 
divisions), but the results w«ere as profitless as their prede- 
cessors. The heroism of the French barred the way. 

At Arras in June, there was almost as much activity as at 
Ypres. During the last part of the campaign in the Artois, 
General d'Urbal began an advance between Hebuterne and Serre. 
The former had been held by the French and the latter by the 
Germans. The two villages were each on a small hill and not 
quite two miles apart. There were two lines of German trenches 
in front of the farm of Tout Vent which was halfway between 
the villages. 


The trenches were held by the Seventeenth Baden Regiment 
which was attacked by the French on June 7, 1915. The French 
troops consisted of Bretons, Vendeans, and soldiers from Savoy 
and Dauphine. The work of the infantry was preceded by a 
hesLvy bombardment to which the German artillery replied. 
Then the French charged with a dash that seemed irresistible. 

On the following day, June 8, 1915, the French gained more 
ground to the north in spite of the activity of the German artil- 
lery. June 9, 1915, saw desperate fighting in the German com- 
municating trenches, and on June 10, 1915, several hundred 
yards of trenches to the south were taken. The Seventeenth 
Baden Regiment was only a name and a memory when the fight- 
ing ceased ; and two German battalions had fared but little bet- 
ter. Of the five hundred and eighty prisoners taken ten were 
ofl^icers. ;t 

General de Castelnau, on the day before the fighting at Hebu- 
terne, made a break in the German line east of Forest of TAlgle 
which is a continuation of the Forest of Compiegne but is sepa- 
rated from it by the Aisne. Within the French lines were the 
farms of Ecaffaut and Quennevieres. The Germans held Les 
Loges and Tout Vent. There was a German salient opposite 
Quennevieres with a small fort at the peak of the salient. De- 
fenses had been built also where the northern and southern sides 
of the salient rested on the main line of trenches. There were 
two lines of trenches on the arc of the salient with three lines 
on a portion of the arc. An indented trench held the chord of the 
arc. The Germans had placed several guns in a ravine which ran 
down toward Tout Vent. Four companies of the Eighty-sixth 
^^^Regiment had held the salient. 

^B On June 5, 1915, the reserve troops were taken from the Tout 
^KVent ravine for reenforcements. Their places were occupied then 
^Bby other German troops. The French artillery bombarded the 
^»f ort at the peak of the salient, and all of the trenches and defenses 
^Bof the Germans in that neighborhood and the French infantry 
^Kkept up a rifle and machine-gun fire which was an aid in prevent- 
^Bing the Germans from repairing the damage done their defenses. 


in volume and intensity on the morning of June 6, 1915. Then it 
was continued intermittently. A mine under the fort at the peak 
of the salient blew up. The Germans who sought refuge in their 
dugouts found them unavailing. The shells had blown the roofs 
from those places of supposed safety. In many instances their 
occupants had been buried in the debris and suffocated. The 
French artillery lengthened its range and made a curtain of fire 
between the Germans on the front and the German supports in 
the rear. Then the French infantry charged. The men had 
dispensed with knapsack that they might not be hampered with 
unnecessary weight. All had three rations and two hundred and 
fifty rounds of anmiunition. They were also provided with two 
hand grenades and a sack. The last was to be filled with earth. 
The filled sacks were sufficient to form breastworks with which 
any place taken might be held. With a cheer the French infantry 
ran across the two hundred yards between the two lines. The 
German infantry's nerves had been so badly shaken by the 
bombardment that only a scattering fire, badly directed, greeted 
the French. It was but the work of minutes to take the first line 
of German trenches. The two hundred and fifty survivors of 
two German battalions were made prisoners. The German re- 
serves in the ravine on the Tout Vent farm made a dash to aid 
their fire line; but the French artillery shells accounted for 
them before the reserves ever reached those whom they would 
have relieved. Thus in less than an hour 2,000 Germans were 
put out of the fight. The French who had been selected for this 
work included Bretons, Zouaves, and chasseurs. 

The Zouaves then made a dash for the ravine on the Tout 
Vent front. There they came upon a field work equipped with 
three guns. This work was protected by wire entanglements. 
The German artillerymen retreated to their dugouts, but the 
Zouaves captured them and their fortification. At that stage 
of the fighting the French aviators saw German reenforcements 
on their way to take part in the battle. The aviators signaled to 
their troops this information. Two German battalions were be- 
ing hurried in motor cars from Roye to the east of the Oise ; but 
before they reached the scene of the fighting the Germans man- 


aged to mass for a counterattack. It was ill-planned and exe- 
cuted. French shrapnel and machine guns annihilated those 
making the counterattack. In the meantime the French sap- 
pers were fortifying with sacks of earth the ends of the salient; 
so that by night the French were in a position to hold what 
they had gained. The precautions which the French had made 
were shown to be extremely timely, for that night the reenforce- 
ments from Roye made eight desperate attacks. 

The lack of success throughout the night did not prevent 
the Germans from making a reckless attack on the French 
works at both ends of the salient on the morning of June 7. 
The Germans made their advance along the lines of the communi- 
cating trenches. They were greeted with a shower of hand 
grenades. By nightfall the Germans seemed to have wearied 
of the attacks. The total German loss in killed in this engage- 
ment was three thousand. The French had lost only two hun- 
dred and fifty killed and fifteen hundred wounded. They captured 
a large amount of equipage and ammunition, besides twenty 
machine guns. 

The French front south of Pont-a-Mousson, on the Moselle, 
through the gap of Nancy to the tops of the Vosges experienced 
only slight changes during the spring and summer of 1915. The 
Germans assumed the offensive in the region of La Fontenelle, 
in the Ban-de-Sapt, in April and June. The French engineers 
had built a redoubt to the east of La Fontenelle on Hill 627. The 
Germans found they could not take it by an assault; so their 
sappers went to work to tunnel under it; but they had to bore 
through very hard rock and the work was necessarily slow. The 
French, learning of the mining operations of their foes, started a 
countereffort with the result that there was a succession of fierce 
skirmishes under the surface of the earth. Finally the German 
sappers were lured into a communicating tunnel which had been 
mined for the purpose and they all perished. The greatest activ- 
ity of the sappers was between April 6 and April 13, 1915. On 
the night of the latter date the officers of the Germans tried to 
rally their men for further operations, but their soldiers had had 
enough and refused to renew their work. 


The Germans, however, did not give up in their attempts to 
take Hill 627, which they called Ban-de-Sapt, and in an assault 
they made upon it on June 22 they took the hill. Thereupon 
the general in command of the Thirtieth Bavarian Division made 
the following announcement : 

"I have confidence that the height of Ban-de-Sapt will be 
transformed with the least possible delay into an impregnable 
fortification and that the efforts of the French to retake it will be 
bloodily repulsed." 

On the night of July 8 the French began a bombardment which 
was followed by an infantry charge which forced its way through 
five lines of trenches and gained the redoubt on the top of the hill, 
in spite of its corrugated iron and gun-shield defenses to which 
had been added logs and tree trunks. At the same time the 
French made an attack on the German trenches on the left and 
surrounded the hill from the eastward. The Germans on the 
right flank of the French were kept busy by another attack. 
In this battle two battalions of the Fifth Bavarian Ersatz Bri- 
gade were taken from the German ranks either by death or as 
prisoners. The French captured eight hundred and eighty-one, 
of whom twenty-one were officers, who, for the most part, were 
men of more than ordinary education. 

The principal work of the French troops at this time was in 
the valley of the Fecht and the neighboring mountains. They 
planned to go down through the valley to Miinster and take the 
railroad to which the mountain railroads were tributaries. In 
connection with this campaign in the mountains the achievement 
of a company of French Chasseurs serves to illustrate the heroic 
and hardy character of these men. They were surrounded by 
German troops on June 14, 1915, but refused to surrender. In- 
stead they built a square camp which they prepared to hold as 
long as one of them remained alive. When their ammunition 
began to give out, they rolled rocks down on their enemy and 
hurled large stones at the advancing foe. At the same time the 
French artillery aided them by raining shells on the Germans, 
though the artillery was miles from the scene of action. Thus 
the Chasseurfj w^re able to hold their position until they were re- 


lieved on June 17, 1915. In the meantime the French proceeded 
down the valley of the Fecht and up the mountains overlooking 
the valley. An assault was made on the top of Braunkopf and an 
attack was made on Anlass on June 15 and 16, 1915. The French 
captured Metzeral on June 19, 1915, the Germans having set fire 
to it before being driven out. The soldiers of the republic then 
began to bombard Munster with such success that they destroyed 
a German ammunition depot there. The Sondernach ridge was 
held by the French about the middle of July, 1915, and they con- 
tinued to gain ground so that they were near Munster by the 
end of July, 1915. In these actions the French mountaineers 
were pitting their skill against the mountaineers from Bavaria. 

By midsummer the lines on both sides of the western front 
were an elaborate series of field fortifications. The shallow 
trenches of the preceding fall were practically things of the past. 
And these fortifications extended from the Vosges to the North 
Sea. They naturally varied with the nature of the region in 
which they were built. The marshy character of the soil along 
the Yser and about the Ypres salient made it impossible to go 
down very deep. Hence it was necessary to build up parapets 
which were easy marks for the artillery. The Germans had the 
better places on the higher levels from Ypres to Armenti^res; 
but the British line opposing them showed remarkable engineer- 
ing skill. The advances of the Allies had resulted in making the 
first line of trenches somewhat temporary in character in the 
sections about Festubert, La Bassee, and the Artois ; but in these 
'egions there were strong fortifications in the rear of both lines, 
'he condition of the ground from Arras to Compiegne was ex- 
jellent for fortification purposes. The Teutons had the better 
position in the chalky region along the Aisne, though the chalk 
formation did not add to the comfort of the men. In the north- 
fern part of Champagne trench life was more bearable. The 
Forests in the Argonne, the Woevre, and the Vosges made the 
trenches the best of all on the western front. The greater part 
►f these so-called trenches, the like of which had never before 

m constructed, could not be taken without a bombardment by 
heavy artillery. And, in the rear of each line there was a series 


of other fortifications quite as impregnable. This condition was 
a gradual growth which had developed as a result of the in- 
creasingly new methods of attack. As new means of taking life 
were invented, new means of protection came into existence, 
until, for the present, the inventive genius of man seemed to be 
at a standstill. But all this activity and preparation at the 
front meant a greater activity in the rear of the opposing lines. 
Fighting men were a necessity ; but, under existing conditions of 
warfare, they were useless unless they were kept supplied by an 
army of artisans and another army of men to transport muni- 
tions to the soldiers on the firing line. In fact it was being 
forced on the minds of the commanding officers that the war 
could be won in the workshop and laboratory rather than on 
the battle field. 



FOR the most part the activity of the Belgian army in Febru- 
. ary, 1915, consisted of a continuous succession of advanced- 
post encounters, in which detachments of from thirty to forty 
soldiers fought with the Germans on the narrow strips of land 
which remained inundated, while the artillery of the contending 
forces bombarded the trenches and the machine-gun forts. The 
intermittent artillery duel continued through the forepart of 
February, 1915, and on February 14, 1915, the Germans bom- 
barded Nieuport, Bains and the Dune trenches, and continued the 
bombardment on February 15, 1915, and again on February 
20, 1915. 

Near Dixmude on February 28, 1915, the Belgian artillery 
demolished two of the German trenches, and their infantry oc- 
cupied a farm on the right bank of the Yser. One of their 
aviators dropped bombs on the harbor station at Ostend. 

By the beginning of March, 1915, strips of dry land began to 
be seen in the flooded region ; and, along these, the Belgians ad- 


vanced at Dixmude and the bend of the Yser. They won addi- 
tional bridgeheads on the northern bank of the river. By the 
middle of the month, March, 1915, the Belgians had obtained a 
strategical point by possessing Oudstuyvenkerke on the Schoor- 
bakke highway. From there they could force the Germans back 
until they were in a position that would prevent any German 
action against the Dixmude bridgehead. 

On March 18, 1915, the Belgian army continued its progress 
on the Yser, and on March 23, 1915, the artillery destroyed sev- 
eral German observation points. A division of the Belgian army 
made some progress on the right bank of the Yser on March 24, 
1915; while another was taking a German trench on the left 
bank. The almost continuous artillery fighting was more active 
in the Nieuport region on March 26, 1915 ; and farther south a 
farm north of St. Georges in advance of the allied lines was taken 
and held. 

But the Belgian army was unable to take any decisive action 
against the left wing of the German army during the spring and 
summer of 1915, both on account of the wetness of the land and 
the activity of the German artillery. Yet it harassed the Ger- 
mans by so much activity that the Teutons continued to add to 
their heavy howitzers and large cahber naval guns. Neverthe- 
less the Belgian strategy gained for its little army many ad- 
vantages of tactical importance. It seemed to be a part of the 
plan of the Belgian generals to give their new troops, which were 
filling up the previously thinned ranks, a training under heavy 
bombardments without risking the lives or liberty of many of 
their men. They held the old cobbled roads which remained 
about the waters, using an almost innumerable number of 
trenches for that purpose. 

iThe Germans sought to obviate this check to their activities 
by approaching on rafts on which were machine guns, from 
which attempts were made to pour an enfilading fire on the 
trenches. Thereupon the Belgian sharpshooters became espe- 
cially active and exterminated the machine-gun crews before 
the Germans could take advantage of the position they had 
gained by using the rafts. 


Finally the waters subsided and the mud which remained 
dried. As soon as the ground became firm enough to support 
troops the Belgians became so active that the Germans desired 
more men, but their soldiers were also needed in many other 
sections of the western front, and for the time being none could 
be sent against the Belgians. Hence King Albert's troops con- 
tinued to make progress. 

The Germans made an attack between Nieuport and the sea on 
May 9, 1915, but were repulsed. To the north of Dixmude the 
Belgians were violently attacked during the night of May 10, 
1915, by three German battalions. They were repulsed and 
suffered large losses. 

On the night of May 16, 1915, the Germans threatened with 
complete envelopment by the successful attacks of preceding 
days, evacuated the positions which they had occupied to the 
west of the Yser Canal, and they gained nothing on the eastern 
bank. The Germans left about two thousand dead and many 
rifles when they were forced from the western bank. On the 
following night. May 17, 1915, the positions on the eastern bank 
were consolidated, and a German counterattack, which was pre- 
ceded by a bombardment, was repulsed. The Germans gained a 
footing in the trenches to the east of the Yser Canal in an attack 
made on the night of May 20, 1915, but they were driven out and 
lost some of the ground they had held before making the attack. 

The Germans made a violent attack on the edge of the Belgian 
front at Nieuport in order to prevent the Belgians from aiding 
in the defense of Ypres, but the Belgians defended Nieuport 
with one army corps and made an advance on Dixmude with 
another corps, with the result that they assisted the Zouaves in 
taking the German bridgeheads on the western bank of the canal 
above Ypres. These bridgeheads were protected by forts manned 
by machine guns, and the approaches were commanded by heavy 
artillery fire, but defense was destroyed in the middle of May, 

The Germans concentrated their efforts against the Belgians 
at one point between Ypres and Dixmude. They bombarded the 
trenches, using bombs filled vith poisonous gas. When they 


believed the Belgians had been overcome by the gas the German 
infantry charged. The Belgians, however, had kept their faces 
close to the ground, thus escaping most of the fumes from the 
shells. When the Germans arrived within easy range they were 
greeted with machine-gun fire to such an extent that the com- 
panies leading the charge were slain. 

A battalion of Belgian troops on June 14, 1915, gained the 
east bank of the Yser south of the Dixmude railroad bridge, and 
established themselves there. The Belgians also destroyed a 
German blockhouse in the vicinity of the Chateau of Dixmude. 
The Belgian troops, south of St. Georges, captured a German 
trench, all the defenders of which were killed or made prisoners 
on June 22, 1915. 

After the canal line was won, and the Belgians were in posi- 
tion to hold it, they could make little headway eastward. Their 
advance was checked by a series of batteries which were con- 
cealed in the Forest of Houthulst. These batteries, containing 
many guns of large caliber, continued to shell the Belgian 
trenches to such an extent that it was necessary for their in- 
habitants to keep close to the bomb-proof chambers with which 
the trenches were liberally supplied. But the Belgians kept so 
many of the German troops occupied that, in this way, they gave 
great aid to their allies, and enabled the French and British to 
regain much of the territory which was lost in the first attack 
which the Germans made with poisonous gas. The remainder 
of the summer was occupied with intermittent artillery duels 
and minor engagements between the opposing trench lines. In 
the meantime the Belgian army was adding to the number of it? 
troops and gathering munitions for an aggressive movements 




THE war on the seas, with the long-expected battle between 
the fleets of the great nations, developed during the second 
six months of the war into a strange series of adventures. The 
fleets of the British and the Germans stood like huge phantoms 
— ^the first enshrouded in mystery somewhere in the Irish and 
North Seas; the second held in leash behind the Kiel Canal, 
awaiting the opportune moment to make its escape. 

These tense, waiting days were broken by sensational and 
spectacular incidents — ^not so much through the sea fights of 
great modem warships as through the adventures of the raiders 
on the seven seas, the exploits of the submarines, and the daring 
attempt of the allied fleets to batter down the mighty forts in 
the Dardanelles and bombard their way toward Constantinople 
— ^the coveted stronghold of the Ottoman Empire. The several 
phases of these naval operations are described in special chap- 
ters in this volume, therefore We will now confine ourselves to 
the general naval developments. 

In the spring of 1915 the threat made by Admiral von Tirpitz 
that Germany would carry on war against British and allied 
shipping by sinking their vessels with submarines, was made 
effective. The submersible craft began to appear on all the 
coasts of the British Isles. It infested the Irish Sea to such an 
extent that shipping between England and Ireland was seriously 

A particularly daring raid took place on the night of 
February 1, 1915, when a number of submarines tried to 



scuttle ships lying at Dover. The attack failed, but drew fire 
from the guns of the fort here.* 

On the 5th of February, 1915, the German Naval Staff an- 
nounced that beginning February 18, 1915, the waters around 
Great Britain would be considered a "war zone." This was in 
retaliation for the blockade maintained against Germany by the 
British navy. The proclamation read as follows: 

'The waters round Great Britain and Ireland, including the 
whole of the English Channel, are herewith proclaimed a war 

'*0n and after February 18, 1915, every enemy merchant 
vessel found in this war region will be destroyed without its 
always being possible to warn the crew or passengers of the 
dangers threatening. 

"Neutral ships will also incur danger in the war region, where, 
in view of the misuse of the neutral flags ordered by the British 
Government and incidents inevitable in sea warfare, attacks 
intended for hostile ships may affect neutral ships also. 

"The sea passage to the north of the Shetland Islands and the 
eastern region of the North Sea in a zone of at least thirty miles 
along the Netherlands coast is not menaced by any danger. 

"(Signed) Berlin, February 4, 1915, Chief of Naval Staff, 

Von Pohl." 

The effect of this proclamation, which was in truth nothing 
more than official sanction for the work that the submarines had 
been doing for some weeks, and which they continued to do, wa» 
to bring Germany into diplomatic controversy with neutral 
countries, particularly the United States; such controversy is 
taken up in a different chapter of this history. In connection 
with the naval history of the Great War it suffices to say that 
such a proclamation constituted a precedent in naval history. 
The submarine had heretofore been an untried form of war 
craft. The rule had formerly been that a merchantman stopped 
by an enemy's warship was subject to search and seizure, and, 
if it offered no resistance, was taken to one of the enemy's ports 

* See chapter on "Exploits of the Submarines." 





WAR zorsE 
GERMANY FEB.\8.l<9l? 

^^ . ', I \S^ETL*\NO >*. 




as a prize. If it offered resistance it might be summarily sunk. 
But it was impossible for submarines to take ships into port on 
account of the patrols of allied warships ; and the limited quar- 
ters of submarines made it impossible to take aboard them the 
crews of ships which they sank. 

Reference made to the use of neutral flags quoted in the Ger- 
man proclamation had been induced by the fact that certain of 
the British merchant ships, after Germany had begun to send 
them to the bottom whenever one of its submarines caught up 
with them had gone through the waters where the submarines 
operated flying the flag of the United States and other neutral 
powers in order to deceive the commanders of the submarines. 
The latter had little time to do more than take a brief observa- 
tion of merchantmen which they sank, and one of the first things 
they sought was the nationality of the flag that the intended 
victims carried; unless they could be sure of the identity of a 
ship through familiarity with the lines of her hull, they ran the 
risk, in attacking a ship flying a neutral flag, of sinking a vessel 
belonging to a neutral power. 

Here was another matter that opened up diplomatic exchanges 
between Germany and the United States, and between the United 
States and England. It suffices here to give not only the con- 
troversy or the points involved, but the record of events. The 
first use of the flag of a neutral country by a ship belonging to 
one of the belligerents in the Great War occurred on January 31, 
1915, when the Cunard liner Orduna carried the American flag 
at her forepeak in journeying from Liverpool to Queenstown. 
She again did so on February 1, 1915, when she left the latter 
>ort for New York. And another notable instance was on 
'ebruary 11, 1915, when the Liisitania, another Cunard liner, 
irrived at Liverpool flying the American flag in obedience to 
orders issued by the British admiralty. It was only the prom- 
lence of these vessels which gave them notoriety in this regard ; 
le same practice was indulged in by many smaller ships. 
"What will happen after the 18th?'' was the one important 
[uestion asked during February, 1915, by the public of the 
leutral as well as belligerent countries. 


February 18, 1915, arrived and saw Von Pohl's proclamation 
go into effect, and from that date onward the toll of ships sunk, 
both of neutral and belligerent countries, grew longer daily. 

But before the German submarines could begin the new cam- 
paign, those of the British navy became active, and it was ad- 
mitted in Berlin on February 15, 1915, that British submarines 
had made their way into the Baltic, through the sound between 
Sweden and Denmark, where they attacked the German cruiser 
Gazelle unsuccessfully. 

Nor was the British navy inactive in other ways, though it 
had been greatly discredited by the fact that the German sub- 
marines were playing havoc with British shipping right at 
England's door. A fleet of two battleships and several cruisers 
drew up off Westende and bombarded the German trenches on 
the 4th of February, 1915. 

Only one day after the war-zone proclamation went into effect 
the Allies brought out their trump card for the spring of 1915. 



BY the middle of February, 1915, the Allies completed the 
arrangement for the naval attack on the Dardanelles. The 
military part of the campaign in these regions is treated in the 
chapter on the "Campaign in the Dardanelles" ; hence we must 
confine ourselves at present to the general naval affairs. The 
naval operations began with the concentration in the adjacent 
waters of a powerful fleet consisting of both French and British 

The ships engaged were the Queen Elizabeth, with her main 
battery of 15-inch guns, the Inflexible, veteran of the fight off 
the Falkland Islands, the Agamemnon, Cornwallis, Triumph, 
and Vengeance. In addition to these British ships there were 
the French battleships Suffren, Gaulois, and Bouvet, and a fleet 


of destroyers. The senior British officer was Vice Admiral 
Sackville Garden, and the French commander was Admiral 
Guepratte. A new "mother ship*' for a squadron of seaplanes 
was also part of the naval force; this was the ship Ark Royal. 
At eight in the morning on February 19, 1915, this powerful 
fleet started "The Great Attempt." 

After bombarding the Turkish forts till three in the afternoon 
without receiving a single reply from the guns of the forts, the 
warships ceased firing and went in closer to the shore, the allied 
commanders believing that the forts had not replied because 
they all had been put out of action. The fallacy of this belief 
was discovered when, at the shortened range, shells began to 
fall about the ships. None was hit; when dusk came on they 

Stormy weather prevented further action on the part of the 
warships for almost a week, but on February 25, 1915, they 
resumed their bombardment. The Irresistible and Albion had 
by then joined the other British ships, and the Charlemagne had 
augmented the French force. 

At ten o'clock in the morning of February 25, 1915, the Queen 
Elizabeth, Gaulois, Irresistible, and Agamemnon began to fire 
on the forts Sedd-el-Bahr, Orkanieh, Kum Kale, and Cape Hellas 
— ^the outer forts — at long range, and drew replies from the 
Turkish guns. It was out of all compliance with naval tradition 
for warships to stand and engage land fortifications, for lessons 
learned by naval authorities from the Spanish- American and 

i Russo-Japanese wars had established precedents; which pro- 
hibited it. But here the larger warships were carrying heavier 
^ns than those in the forts. Whereas the Queen Elizabeth car- 
ried 15-inch guns, the largest of the Turkish guns measured only 
p.2 inches. 
At 11.30 o'clock in the morning of February 25, 1915, the 
Agamemnon was hit with a shell which had traveled six miles, 
but it did not damage her beyond repair. Meanwhile the Queen 
Elizabeth had silenced Cape Hellas, firing from a distance far 
beyond the range of the forts' guns. And then, just before noon, 
and after the larger ship had silenced the main battery at Cape 

12_War St. 3 


Hellas, the ships Vengeance and Cornwallis dashed in at shorter 
range and destroyed the minor batteries there. The Suffren and 
Charlemagne also took part in this phase of the engagement, 
and later, in the afternoon, the Triumph and Albion concen- 
trated fire on Sedd-el-Bahr, silencing its last guns by five o'clock 
in the evening. 

The larger ships needed the respite during the night of 
February 25, 1915, while trawlers, which had been brought down 
from the North Sea for the purpose, began to sweep the entrance 
to the forts for mines, and cleared enough of them out by thf 
morning of the 26th to enable the Majestic — which had by then 
joined the fleet — and the Albion and Vengeance to steam in be- 
tween the flanking shores and fire at the forts on the Asiatic side. 
It was known by the allied commanders that they might expect 
return fire from Fort Dardanos, but this they did not fear, for 
they knew that its heaviest gun measured but 5.9 inches. But 
they had a surprise when concealed batteries near by, the pres- 
ence of which had not been suspected, suddenly began to fire. 
Believing now that the Turks were abandoning the forts at the 
entrance, the allied ships covered the landing of parties of 

Long-range firing had by the end of February 26, 1915, en- 
abled the allied fleets to silence the outer forts and to clear their 
way to the straits. They now had to take up the task of destroy- 
ing the real defenses of the Dardanelles — ^the forts at the Nar- 
rows, and this was a harder task, for long-range firing was no 
longer possible. The guns of the forts and those of the ships 
would be meeting on a more equal basis. 

But this was not to be essayed at once, for more rough weather 
kept the fleets from using their guns effectively, their trawlers 
continued to sweep the waters for mines near the Narrows. By 
March 3, 1915, however, the commanders were ready to resume 
operations. The Lord Nelson and the Ocean had by then also 
arrived on the scene, and in the subsequent operations were hit 
a number of times by the Turkish guns ; and the Canopus, Swift- 
sure, Prince George, and Sapphire, though they did not report 
being hit, were also known to have been present. 


The new "eyes" of the fleets located new and concealed bat- 
teries placed in position by the Turks, and at two o'clock in the 
afternoon of February 3, 1915, they ascended to direct the fire 
of the ships' guns by signal. The bombardment was kept up till 
darkness fell, but it was resumed on the next day. 

On March 4, 1915, the Queen Elizabeth, so great was the range 
of her guns, was able to reach the forts Hamadieh I, Tabia, and 
Hamadieh II, firing across the Gallipoli Peninsula. Three times 
she was hit by shells from field pieces lying between her and her 
target, but no great damage was done to her. While her guns 
roared out, the Suffren, Albion, Prince George, Vengeance, and 
Majestic went inside the straits and had attacked the forts at 
Soundere, Mount Dardanos, and Rumili Medjidieh Tabia, and 
were fired upon by Turkish guns from the forts and from con- 
cealed batteries which struck these ships, but not a man was 
killed or a ship put out of action. 

March 7, 1915, the Agamemnon and Lord Nelson attacked the 
forts at the Narrows, their bombardment being covered by 
the four French battleships. All of the ships were struck, but 
again none of them was put out of action. After heavy 
shelling forts Rumili Medjidieh Tabia and Hamadieh I were 

While these operations were going on, another British fleet, 
consisting of battleships and cruisers, on March 5, 1915, began 
an attack on Smyrna. For two hours, and in fine, clear weather, 
Fort Yeni Kale was damaged after being subjected to heavy 
bombardment, but it was not silenced when dusk interrupted the 

Little was accomplished for some days afterward. Some of 
the forts which had been reported silenced were getting ready 
to resume firing; their silence had been due to the fact that the 
defenders often had to leave their guns while the gases generated 
by the firing cleared off, and they had also thought it wiser to 
conserve ammunition rather than fire ineffective shots. Sedd-el- 
Bahr and Kum Kale were able to resume firing in a few days, for 
though the shells of the allied fleets had damaged the structural 
parts of these defenses, they had not landed troop.^ out to occupy 


them, with the result that the Turks were enabled to intrench 
near the ruins and there reset their guns. 

On the morning of March 15, 1915, the small British cruiser 
Amethyst made a dash into the Narrows, which when reported 
led the British and French public to believe that the defense had 
been forced, but, as a matter of fact, this exploit was a bit of 
stratagem, being only designed to draw the fire of concealed 

On March 18, 1915, "The Great Effort" was made to force the 
defenses with naval operations, all previous work having been 
preliminary. The battleships Agamemnon, Prince George, 
Queen Elizabeth, Lord Nelson, Triumph, and Inflexible steamed 
right up to the Narrows. Four of them bombarded Chanak and 
a battery which lay opposite it, and the forts at Saghandere, 
Kephez Point, and Dardanos were kept busy by the Triumph 
and the Prince George, After the fleet had been at it for an hour 
and a half they received the support of the four French ships 
which steamed in close and attacked the forts at a shorter range. 
When the forts ceased firing the six battleships Ocean, Swift- 
sure, Majestic, Albion, Irresistible, and Vengeance came in and 
tried to carry the attack further. While the French squadron 
maneuvered to allow freedom of action for this newer British 
squadron the Turkish guns resumed fire. Then came the first 
of a series of disasters. Three shells struck the Bouvet, and she 
soon began to keel over. When the underwater part of her hull 
came into view it was seen that she had been hit underneath, 
probably by one of the mines which the Turks had floated toward 
the crowded ships. She sank almost immediately, carrying the 
greater part of her crew down with her. Only two hours later 
r.nother mine did damage to the Irresistible, and she left the 
line, listing heavily. While she floated and while she was under 
heavy fire from Turkish guns a destroyer took off her crew. She 
sank just before six o'clock. Not fifteen minutes later the Ocean 
became the third victim of a floating mine, and she also went to 
the bottom. Destroyers rescued many of her crew from the 
water. The guns from the forts were also able to do damage ; the 
Gaulois had been hit again and again, with the result that 


she had a hole in her hull and her upper works were damaged 
badly. Fire had broken out on the Inflexible, and a number of 
her officers and crew had been either killed or wounded. The 
day ended with the forts still able to return a lively fire to all 
attacks, and "The Great Attempt" on the part of the allied fleets 
had failed. 

On the other end of the passage there had also been some naval 
operations, when, on March 28, 1915, the Black Sea Fleet of the 
Russian navy had bombarded the forts on the Bosphorous. 
Smyrna was again attacked on April 6, 1915. The operations of 
allied submarines were the next phases of the attack on the 
Dardanelles to be reported. The E-5 grounded near Kephez 
Point on April 17, 1915, but before she could be captured by the 
Turks picket boats from the allied fleet rescued her crew and then 
destroyed her. It was just two months now since the naval 
operations had begun at the Dardanelles ; it was seen then that 
all attempts to take them by naval operations alone must fail as 
did the attack of March 18, 1915. 



THE next important event in the naval history of the war oc- 
curred in far-distant waters. On March 10, 1915, there ended 
the wonderful career of the German auxiliary cruiser Prinz 
Eitel Friedrich, Captain Thierichens, which on that date put in 
at the American port of Newport News, Va., for repairs, after 
making the harbor in spite of the watch kept on it by Britislr 
cruisers. She brought with her more than 500 persons, 200 of 
them being her own crew, and the remainder being passengers 
and crews of French, British, Russian, and American ships that 
had been her victims in her roving over 30,000 miles of the 
Atlantic and Pacific oceans since leaving Tsing,-tau seven months 


She had sent eight merchant ships to the bottom, one of them 
being the William P, Frye, an American vessel carrying wheat, 
three British ships, three flying the French flag, and one Russian 
ship. Their total tonnage came to 18,245. The fact that she 
had sunk an American ship on the high seas opened up still 
another diplomatic controversy between Germany and the 
United States, which cannot be treated here. 

When she left Tsing-tau she took as her crew the men from 
the German gunboats Tiger and Luchs, and had their four 4.1-inch 
and some of their one-pounder guns as her armament. Soon 
afterward she stopped the British ship Schargost and expected 
to refill her coal bunkers from those of the merchantman, but in 
this she was disappointed, for those of the latter were almost 
empty. Her next victim was a French sailing vessel, Jean, and 
on board this was found a pleasant surprise for the German 
raider, for the vessel was laden with coal. Captain Thierichens 
had her towed 1,500 miles, to Easter Island, where the coal was 
transferred to the bunkers of the Eitel Friedrich, and the crews 
of her first three victims were put ashore. These marooned men 
were burdens to the white inhabitants of the island, for there 
was not too much food for the extra forty-eight mouths. Finally, 
on February 26, 1915, the Swedish ship Nordic saw them signal- 
ing from the island and took them off, landing them at Panama 
on the day after the Prinz Eitel Friedrich entered Newport 

By the beginning of December, 1914, the German raider was 
in the South Atlantic, and while there heard wireless messages 
exchanged between the ships of the British fleet that took part 
in the battle off the Falkland Islands. The bark Isabella Browne, 
flying the Russian flag, was the next ship overtaken by the Eitel 
Friedrich, on January 26, 1915. She was boarded and all of her 
provisions and stores were removed to the German ship; after 
her crew and their personal effects were taken aboard the Ger- 
man ship she was dynamited and sank. On that same morning 
the French ship Pierre Loti was sighted, and while the Prinz 
Eitel Friedrich put an end to her, after first taking off her crew, 
the captive crew of the Isabella Browne was sent below, but was 


allowed to come on deck to watch the sinking of the French ship. 
The American ship William P. Frye was sunk soon afterward, 
and her crew, also, was made part of the party on board the 
raider. After sinking the French bark Jacobsen the Prinz Eitel 
Friedrich stopped the Thalasia on February 8, 1915, and let her 
go on her way, but on February 18 the British ships Cindracoe 
and Mary Ada Scott were sunk. On the 19th the French steamer 
Floride was overtaken off the coast of Brazil ; all persons aboard 
her were transferred to the German ship and most of her pro- 
visions were also taken aboard the latter ; the Floride, the largest 
steamer destroyed by the German ship, v^as set afire and left to 
bum. On February 20, 1915, the British ship Willerby was over- 
taken and nearly sank the Prinz Eitel Friedrich before being 
boarded. As the German ship passed across the stern of the 
other at a short distance the British captain, knowing that the 
end of his own ship was near, decided to take his captor down 
with him. He tried to ram the German ship with the stern of his 
ship, but failed in the attempt. 

On the evening of February 20, 1915, the wireless operator of 
the Prinz Eitel Friedrich heard British cruisers "talking" with 
each other, one of them being the Berwick, The German cap- 
tain now saw that his long raiding cruise was up, for though he 
could replenish his stores and bunkers from captured ships he 
could not make the many repairs which his vessel needed. To 
put them off at a neutral port or to let them go in one of the ships 
he captured would mean that his position would be reported to 
British ships within a week. He therefore decided to end his 
raiding and put in at Newport News. His vessel was interned 

I in the American port. 
We may now return to the story of the blockade against Ger- 
many and the retaliation she sought. The Allies were now stop- 
ping as much shipping on its way to Germany as they dared 
without bringing on trouble with neutral powers. The Dacia, 
formerly a German merchantman, was taken over, after the 
outbreak of the war, by an American citizen and sailed from New 
Orleans for Rotterdam with a cargo of cotton on February 12, 
1915. She was stopped by a French warship and taken to a 


French port February 27, 1915, and there held till the matter of 
the validity of her transfer of registry could be settled. 

On the other hand the German submarine exploits continued 
and found among their victims a British warship, along with the 
many merchantmen. On March 11, 1915, the British auxiliary 
cruiser Bayano, while on patrol duty became the victim of a 
German torpedo off the Scotch coast. She went down almost 
immediately, carrying with her the greater part of her crew. 

But not always were the submarines immune. Only the day 
before the British destroyer Ariel rammed the German sub- 
marine U-12 and sent her to the bottom, after rescuing her 
crew. She was of an older type, built in 1911, of submarine, and 
had played an active part in the raiding in British waters. On 
February 21, 1915, she had sunk the Irish coasting steamer 
Downshire in the Irish Sea, and her destruction was particu- 
larly welcome in British shipping circles. 

Once more an incident in the naval warfare of the Great War 
was to involve diplomatic exchanges between the belligerents 
and the United States. The African liner Falaba, a British ship 
on her way from Liverpool to Lisbon, was torpedoed in St. 
George's Channel on the afternoon of March 28, 1915. She had 
as one of her passengers an American, L. C. Thrasher, who lost 
his life when the ship sank. 

The naval warfare was proceeding like a game of checkers. 
When on March 14, 1915, there came the end of still another of 
the German raiding cruisers, the Dresden. She was a cruiser 
built in 1907 and having a displacement of 3,544 tons. Her 
speed was good — 24.5 knots — and her armament of ten 4.1-inch 
guns and eight 5-pounder guns made her quite a match for 
enemy warships of her class and superior as for merchant- 
men. She was a sister ship to that other famous raider the 
Emden. In 1909 she had taken her place among the other 
foreign warships in the line in the Hudson River, participating 
in the Hudson-Fulton Celebration. In the spring of 1914 she 
was in the neighborhood of Central America and rescued a 
number of foreign refugees who fled from Mexico, and also took 
Senor Huerta from Puerto Mexico. 


I fr, 


She was still in that neighborhood when the war broke out, 
and was immediately sought after by British and French war- 
ships which were near by. She managed to get away from these 
pursuers and sank the British steamers Hyades and Holmwood 
off the Brazilian coast during the latter part of August, 1914. 
She then went south, rounded the Horn and joined the other 
ships under command of Admiral Von Spee, taking part in the 
battle off Coronel, on November 1, 1914. 

She remained with that squadron and took part in a second 
battle — that off the Falkland Islands — on December 8, 1914. 
When Admiral von Spee saw that he had little chance of winning 
the battle he gave orders that the lighter ships should leave the 
line and seek safety in flight. The Dresden was one of the 
ships which escaped, to the chagrin of the British Admiral. She 
then turned "raider." 

Five days later, on December 13, 1914, she had appeared off 
Punta Arenas, in the Straits of Magellan, stopped at that port 
long enough to take on some provisions and put to sea again, 
with British and Japanese warships on her trail. She was too 
closely hunted to be able to sink many ships, but during the week 
of March 12, 1915, she sank the British steamer Conway Casfle, 
off the coast of Chile, and took coal and provisions from the> 
two German steamers Alda and Sierra Cordoba. 

On March 14, 1915, she was sighted by the British cruisers 
Glasgow, Kent and Orama near Juan Fernandez Island. What 
then ensued is in doubt, owing to conflicting reports made by 
the senior British officer and by the captain of the German 
cruiser. The latter insisted that, seeing his ship was at the end 
of her career, he ordered his men to leave her and then blew 
her up. The former declared that shots were exchanged, that 

e was set afire and was otherwise badly damaged by the 

ritish fire. At any rate, she was destroyed, and all of her men 
were saved. It was estimated that the amount of damage she 

flicted on allied trade amounted to $1,250,000. 

Thus at the end of March, 1915, only the Karlsruhe and Kron- 

rinz Wilhelm, of the eleven German warships that were detached 

from the main German fleet in the North Sea at the outbreak of 


the war, and of the few ships which slipped out of various ports 
as converted auxiliary cruisers, were still at large on the high 

Naval activity in the northern waters of Europe did not abate. 
The British admiralty on March 25, 1915, had announced that 
the German submarine U-29, one of the most improved craft of 
the type in use, had been sunk. This loss was admitted by the 
German admiralty on April 7, 1915. It was a serious loss to 
the German navy, for its commander was Otto von Weddigen, 
he who, in the Z7-P, had sent the Cressy, Aboukir and Hogue to 
the bottom in September, 1914. 

The naval warfare at the Dardanelles proceeded in the same 
desultory fashion. A Turkish torpedo boat caught up with the 
British transport Manitou, and opened fire on her, killing some 
twenty of the soldiers on board. 

In answer to calls for help from the Manitou the British cruiser 
Minerva and some torpedo boats went to the scene and attacked 
the Turkish craft on April 7, 1915, driving it ashore off Chios 
and destroyed it as it lay beached. But during April, 1915, it 
seemed as though there would be another pitched fight between 
British and German warships in the North Sea. On April 23, 
1915, the German admiralty announced that "the German High 
Sea Fleet has recently cruised repeatedly in the North Sea, ad- 
vancing into English waters without meeting the sea forces 
of Great Britain." The British admiralty had undoubtedly 
been aware of this activity on the part of their enemy, but 
for reasons of their own did not choose to send British ships 
to meet the German fleet, and the expected battle did not take 

France, on April 26, 1915, was to sustain a severe loss to her 
navy; she had up to this time not lost as many ships as her 
ally, England, or her enemy, Germany, but her navy was so much 
smaller than either of them that the sinking of the Leon 
Gamhetta on that date was a matter of weight. The Gam- 
betta was an armored cruiser, built in 1904, and carrying four 
7.6-inch guns, sixteen 6.4-inch guns and a number of smaller 
caliber. She had a speed of twenty-three knots. While doing 


patrol duty in the Strait of Otranto she was made the victim of 
the Austrian submarine U-5, and sank, carrying with her 552 

On April 28, 1915, there occurred another incident which gave 
rise to diplomatic exchanges between Germany and the United 
States. On that date a German seaplane attacked the American 
merchantman in broad daylight in the North Sea, but fortunately 
for its crew the ship was not sent to the bottom. The first 
American ship to be struck by a torpedo in the war zone 
established by the German admiralty's proclamation of February 
5, 1915, was the GmI flight This tank steamer was hit by a 
torpedo fired by a German submarine off the Scilly Islands, on 
the 1st of May, 1915. 

But of more importance, because of the number of American 
lives lost, the standing of the matter in international law and the 
prominence of the vessel, was the sinking of the Cunard liner 
Lusitania, on May 7, 1915. This is fully described in the chapter 
on submarines, and in the diplomatic developments discussed in 
the chapter on the United States and the War. The Lusitania had 
left New York for Liverpool on the 1st of May, 1915. She was 
one of. the fastest ships plying between the Eastern and Western 
Hemispheres. Larger than any warship afloat at the time, she 
was able to make the trip from Liverpool to New York in a little 
under five days. On her last crossing she carried 2,160 persons, 
including passengers and crew, many of the former being Ameri- 
cans, some of them of great prominence. While off Old Head 
of Kinsale, on the southeastern end of Ireland, at about half 
past two, on the afternoon of May 7, 1915, with a calm sea and 
no wind, she was hit by one or more torpedoes from a German 
submarine without wanring. 

Those on board immediately went to the life boats, but it was 
only twenty minutes after she had first been hit that she sank, 
and not enough of the small craft could be gotten over her side 
in that time to rescue all those on board. Out of the 2,160 
souls aboard at least 1,398 were lost. Of these 107 were Ameri- 
can citizens. Small boats in the neighborhood of the disaster 
hurried to the scene and rescued those whom they could reach in 


the water and brought them to Queenstown. The sacks of mail 
which the liner carried and which went down with her were the 
first American mail sacks ever lost at sea as a result of war. The 
controversies which this disaster gave rise to between England, 
Germany and the United States are given elsewhere. 

Against British warships the submarine warfare was also 
effective during the month of May, 1915. On the 1st day of 
that month the old British destroyer Recruit was sent to the 
bottom of the North Sea by a German submarine, but the two 
German destroyers which had accompanied the submarine that 
did this were pursued immediately by British destroyers and 
were sunk. On the same day that the Lusitania went down a 
German mine ended the career of the British destroyer Maori, 



THE month of May, 1915, saw new characters enter the 
theatres of naval warfare. Italy had now entered the war and 
brought to the naval strength of the Allies a minor naval unit. 

At the time Italy entered the war she possessed six dread- 
noughts, the Caio Duilio and the Andrea Doria, completed in 
1915, the Conte di Cavour, Giulio Cesare, and Leonardo da Vinci, 
completed in 1914, and the Dante Alighieri, completed in 1912. 
Each of these dreadnoughts had a speed of 23 knots. The Dante 
Alighieri displaced 19,400 tons and had a main battery of twelve 
12-inch guns, and a complement of 987 men. Each of the other 
five had thirteen 12-inch guns and a complement of 1,000 men. 
The displacement of vessels of the 1914 type was 22,340 tons; 
that of the 1915 type 23,025 tons. There were many lesser craft 
flying the Italian flag, but these larger ships were the most 
important additions to the naval forces of the Allies in southern 


The chief operations of the Italian navy were directed against 
Austria. On May 28, 1915, the Italian admiralty announced 
the damage inflicted on Austrian maritime strength up to that 
date. On May 24, 1915, the Austrian torpedo boat S-20 ap- 
proached the canal at Porto Corsini, but drew a very heavy fire 
from concealed and unsuspected batteries which forced her to 
leave immediately. The Austrian torpedo boat destroyer Scharf- 
schiltze, the scout ship Novara and the destroyer Ozepel, all of 
the Austrian navy, came to the assistance of the S-20 and also 
received salvos from the Italian land batteries. But on the same 
day the Italian destroyer Turbine, while scouting gave chase to 
an Austrian destroyer and the Austrian cruiser Helgoland, The 
strength of these Austrian ships was too much for the Turbine 
and she put on speed with the intention of escaping from 
their fire, but she was severely damaged by Austrian shells, and 
not having enough ammunition aboard to give a good account 
of herself, she was scuttled by her own crew. 

It is now necessary to take up again the story of the German 
raiding ships at large on the high seas. As has been told above, 
after the Prinz Eitel Friedrich ended her career by putting in 
at Newport News the only German ships of the kind remaining 
at large were the Karlsruhe and Kronprinz Wilhelm, But on 
the 1st of April, 1915, the Macedonia, a converted liner which 
since November, 1914, had been interned at Las Palmas, 
Canary Islands, succeeded in slipping out of the harbor laden 
with provisions and supplies for use of warships and 
made her way to South American waters in spite of the 
fact that she had run through lines patrolled by British 

The Kronprinz Wilhelm' s career as a raider ended on April 11, 
1915, when, like the Prinz Eitel Friedrich, she succeeded in get- 
ting past the British cruisers and slipped into Newport News, 
Virginia. How this former Hamburg- American liner had slipped 
out of the harbor of New York on the night of August 3,. 1914, 
with her bunkers and even her cabins filled with coal and pro- 
visions, with all lights out and with canvas covering her port 
holes has already been told. From that date until she again put 


in at an American port she captured numerous merchant ships, 
taking 960 prisoners and doing damage amounting to more than 
$7,000,000. She kept herself provisioned from her captives, and 
it was only the poor condition of her plates and boilers that 
made her captain give up raiding when he did. Her movements 
had been mysterious during all the time she was at large. She 
was known to have reprovisioned the cruiser Dresden and to 
have taken an almost stationary position in the South Atlantic in 
order to act as a "wireless station" for the squadron of Admiral 
von Spee. But when the latter was defeated off the Falkland 
Islands, she resumed operations as a raider of commerce. When 
she came into Newport News more than 60 per cent of her crew 
Were suffering from what was thought to be beri-beri; she had 
but twenty-one tons of coal in her bunkers and almost no am- 

The total damage inflicted on the commerce of the Allies by 
the Emden, Karlsruhe, Kronprinz Wilhelm, Prinz Eitel Fried- 
rich, Konigsherg, Dresden an^ Leipzig amounted, by the end of 
May, 1915, to $35,000,000. Sixty-seven vessels had been cap- 
tured and sunk by them. 

In the Dardanelles the naval operations were resumed, to 
some extent, during the month of May, 1915. For a number of 
weeks after the allied fleet had made the great attempt to force 
the Dardanelles on March 19, 1915, their commanders attempted 
no maneuvers with the larger ships, but the submarines were 
given work to do. On April 27, 1915, the British submarine 
E-14', under command of Lieutenant Commander Boyle, dived 
and went under the Turkish mine fields, reaching the waters 
of the Sea of Marmora. In spite of the fact that Turkish de- 
stroyers knew of its presence and hourly watched for it in the 
hope of sinking it, this submarine was able to operate brilliantly 
for some days, sinking two Turkish gunboats and a laden trans- 
port. Similar exploits were performed by Lieutenant Com- 
mander Nasmith with the British submarine E-11, which even 
damaged wharves at the Turkish capital. 

But when the military operations were getting under way dur- 
ing May, 1915, the larger ships of the fleets were again used. 


The Germans realizing that these great ships, moving as they did 
slowly and deliberately while they fired on the land forts, would 
be good targets for torpedoes, sent some of their newest sub- 
marines from the bases in the North Sea, down along the coasts 
of France and Spain, through the passage at Gibraltar and to 
the Dardanelles. Destroyers accompanying the allied fleets kept 
diligent watch for attacks from them. The Goeben, one of the 
German battle cruisers that had escaped British and French 
fleets in the Mediterranean during the first weeks of the war, 
and which was now a part of the Turkish navy, was brought to 
the scene and aided the Turkish forts in their bombardment of 
the hostile warships. 

On May 12, 1915, the British battleship Goliath, of old design 
and displacing some 12,000 tons, was sunk by a torpedo. This 
ship had been protecting a part of the French fleet from flank 
attack inside the straits, and under the cover of darkness had 
been approached by a Turkish destroyer which fired the fatal 
torpedo. It sank almost immediately. 

The submarines of the German navy which had made the long 
journey to participate in the action near the Dardanelles got in 
their first work on May 26, 1915, when a torpedo fired by one 
of them struck the British battleship Triumph and sent her to 
the bottom. Of interest to naval authorities all over the world 
was the fact that this ship at the time she was struck had out 
torpedo nets which were supposed to be torpedo-proof; but the 
German missile tore through them and reached the hull.' A hunt 
was made for the hostile submarine by the British destroyers, 
but she was found by the British battleship Majestic; but before 
the British ship could fire a shot at the German submarine, the 
latter fired a torpedo that caught the battleship near her stern 
and sank her immediately. Apprehension was now felt for the 
IHbiore formidable ships such as the Queen Elizabeth and others 
^Bf her class which were in those waters ; inasmuch as the opera- 
^ftons at the Dardanelles assumed more and more a military 
^Bather than a naval character, the British admiralty thought it 
!^*iv^iser to keep the Queen Elizabeth in safer waters ; she was con- 
sequently called back to England. Only old battleships and 


cruisers were left to cooperate with the troops operating on 
the Gallipoli Peninsula. 

Naval warfare in southern waters was continued against 
British warships by the Austrian navy. On June 9, 1915, the 
Austrian admiralty announced that a cruiser of the type of the 
Liverpool had been struck by a torpedo fired by an Austrian 
submarine while the former was off San Giovanni di Medua, 
near the Albanian coast. Reports of the incident issued 
by the Austrian and British naval authorities differed, the 
former claiming that the cruiser had sunk, and the latter 
that it had remained afloat and had been towed to an Adriatic 

Most unique was an engagement between the Italian submarine 
Medusa and a similar craft flying the Austrian flag on June 17, 
1915. This was the first time that two submarines had ever 
fought with each other. On that day the two submarines, the 
presence of each unknown to the other, lay submerged, not a 
great distance apart. The Medusa, after some hours, came up, 
allowing only her periscope to show ; seeing no enemy about, her 
commander brought the rest of her out of the water. She had 
not emerged many moments before the Austrian vessel also 
came up for a look around and the commander of the latter espied 
the Italian submarine through his periscope. He immediately 
ordered a torpedo fired; it found a mark in the hull of the 
Medusa and she was sent to the bottom. One of her officers 
and four of her men were rescued by the Austrian submarine 
and made prisoners. 

Italy's navy was not to continue to act as a separate naval 
unit in the southern naval theatre of war, for on June 18, 1915, 
the Minister of Marine of France announced that the "Anglo- 
French forces in the Mediterranean were cooperating with the 
Italian fleet, whose participation made possible a more effective 
patrol of the Adriatic. Warships of the Allies were engaged in 
finding and destroying oil depots from which the enemy's sub- 
marines had been replenishing their supplies." This effective 
patrol did not, however, prevent an Austrian submarine from 
sinking an Italian torpedo boat on June 21, 1915. 



In the Baltic Sea the naval activity had at no time during the 
first year of the war been great, but during the month of June, 
1915, there was a minor naval engagement at the mouth of the 
Gulf of Riga, during which the Germans lost a transport and 
the Russians an auxiliary cruiser. In the other northern waters 
the Germans lost the submarine f7-i-4, which was sunk on June 9, 
1915. The crew were brought to England as prisoners. Three 
days later the British admiralty admitted that two torpedo boats, 
the No, 10 and the No. 12 had been lost. The loss of two such 
small boats did not worry Britain as much as did the loss of many 
merchant ships in the war zone right through the spring and 
summer of 1915, and to show that British warships were not 
immune from submarine attack, in spite of the fact that many 
of the underwater craft of Germany were meeting with disaster, 
the British cruiser Roxburgh was struck by a torpedo on June 20, 
1915, but was able to get away under her own steam. The rest 
of the month saw small losses to nearly all of the fleets engaged 
in the war, but none of these were of importance. 

The twelfth month of the first year of war was not particularly 
eventful in so far as naval history was concerned. On July 1, 
1915, the Germans maneuvered in the Baltic Sea with a small 
fleet which accompanied transports bearing men who were to 
try to land on the northern shores of Russia. The port of Win- 
dau was the point at which the German bombardment was 
directed, but Russian torpedo boats and destroyers fought off the 
invading German fleet — ^which must have been small — and suc- 
ceeded in chasing the German mine-layer Albatross, making it 
necessary for her captain to beach her on the Swedish island of 
Gothland, where the crew was interned on July 2, 1915. On the 
same day a German predreadnought battleship, believed to have 
been the Pommem, was sunk at the mouth of Danzig Bay by a 
torpedo from a British submarine. 

In the Adriatic Austria lost a submarine, the U-ll, through a 

unique action. The submersible was sighted on July 1, 1915, 

by a French aeroplane. The aviator dropped two bombs which 

found their mark on the deck of the submarine and sank her. 

Austria had, during that month, made an attempt to capture 

13— War St. 3 


the Austrian island of Pelagosa, which had been occupied 
by the Italians on July 26, 1915. But July 29, 1915, the fleet of 
Austrian cruisers and destroyers, which made the attack, 
was driven off by unnamed units of the Italian navy. But a loss 
by the latter had been incurred on July 7, 1915, when the armored 
cruiser Amalfi, while scouting in the upper waters of the Adriatic 
Sea, was sighted and tori>edoed by an Austrian submarine. She 
sank, but most of her men were saved. Another Austrian sub- 
marine had the same success on July 17, 1915, when it fired a 
torpedo at the Italian cruiser Giuseppe Garibaldi, and saw her 
go down fifteen minutes later. Italy endeavored to imitate the 
actions of Germany when, on July 6, 1915, she proclaimed that 
the entire Adriatic Sea was a war zone and that the Strait of 
Otranto was in a state of blockade. All the ports of Dalmatia 
were closed to every kind of commerce. 

Near the coasts of Turkey, toward the end of the first year 
of war, there was fought the second duel between submarines. 
This time the vanquished vessel was the French submarine 
Mariotte, which, on July 26, 1915, was sunk by a torpedo from 
a German submarine in the waters right near the entrance to 
the Dardanelles. Britain ended the first year of naval warfare 
by destroying the German cruiser Konigsberg, which, since the 
fall of the year before, had been lying up the Rufiji River in Ger- 
man East Africa, after having been chased thence by a British 
cruiser. It was decided to destroy her in order that she might 
not get by the sunken hulls that the British had placed at the 
mouth of the river in order to "bottle her up." Consequently, on 
the morning of July 4, 1915, after her position had been noted 
by an aviator, two British river monitors, Severn and Mersey, 
aided by a cruiser and minor vessels, began to fire upon the 
stationary vessel. Their fire was directed by the aviator who ha(? 
discovered her, but it was at first almost ineffective because she 
lay so well concealed by the vegetation of the surrounding jungle. 
She answered their fire and succeeded in damaging the Mersey/ 
but after being bombarded for six hours she was set on fire. When 
the British monitors had finished with her she was a total wreck. 



WE now return to the exploits of the Emden, its mysterious 
disappearance and the narrative of its heroes — a great epic 
of the sea. 

When in Volume III the story of the sinking of the Ger- 
man cruiser Emden was related, mention was made of the 
escape of the landing party belonging to that ship from Cocos 
Island. This party consisted of fifty men, headed by Captain 
Mucke, and from the time their ship went down on November 
9, 1914, until they reported for duty again at Damascus, Syria, 
in May, 1915, they had a series of adventures as thrilling as 
those encountered by the heroes in any of the Renaissance 

Before the Emden met the Australian cruiser Sydney, and had 
been sunk by the latter, she had picked up three officers from 
German steamers which she had met. This proved to be a piece 
of good fortune, for extra officers were needed to board and com- 
mand the prize crews of captured vessels. The story of the raid- 
ing of the Emden has already been given ; but here the story of 
the landing party is given as told by Captain Mucke himself on 
May 10, 1915, at Damascus: 

"On November 9, 1914," he said, "I left the Emden in order 
to destroy the wireless plant on Cocos Island. I had fifty men, 
four machine guns, about thirty rifles. Just as we were about to 
destroy the apparatus it reported, 'Careful ; Emden near.' The 
work of destruction went smoothly. The wireless operators 
said: Thank God. It's been like being under arrest day and 
night lately.' Presently the Emden signaled us, 'Hurry up.' I 
packed up, but simultaneously the Emden's siren wailed. I hur- 
ried to the bridge and saw the flag *Anna' go up. That meant 
•Weigh anchor.' We ran like mad to our boat, but already the 
Emden's pennant was up, the battle flag was raised, and they 
began to fire from the starboard." 


"The enemy," explained Captain Mucke, "was concealed by the 
island and therefore not to be seen, but I saw the shells strike 
the water. To follow and catch the Emden was out of the ques- 
tion, as she was going at twenty knots, and I only four with my 
steam pinnace. Therefore I turned back to land, raised the flag, 
declared German laws of war in force, seized all arms, set up 
my machine guns on shore in order to guard against a hostile 
landing. Then I ran out again in order to observe the fight. 
From the splash of the shells it looked as though the enemy 
had 15-centimeter guns, bigger, therefore, than the Emden' s. 
He fired rapidly but poorly. It was the Australian cruiser 

According to the account of the Englishmen who saw the first 
part of the engagement from the shore, the Emden was cut up 
rapidly. Her forward smokestack lay across the deck, and was 
already burning fiercely aft. Behind the mainmast several shells 
struck home. 

"We saw the high flame," continued Captain Miicke, "whether 
circular fighting or a running fight now followed, I don't know, 
because I again had to look to my land defenses. Later, I looked 
on from the roof of a house. Now the Emden again stood out to 
sea about 4,000 to 5,000 yards, still burning. As she again turned 
toward the enemy, the forward mast was shot away. On the 
enemy no "outward damage was apparent, but columns of smoke 
showed where shots had struck home. Then the Emden took a 
northerly course, likewise the enemy, and I had to stand there 
helpless, gritting my teeth and thinking; *Damn it; the Emden 
is burning and you aren't aboard !' " 

Captain Miicke, in relating his thrilling adventure, then ex- 
plained: "The ships, still fighting, disappeared behind the hori- 
zon. I thought that an unlucky outcome for the Emden was pos- 
sible, also a landing by the enemy on the Keeling Island, at least 
for the purpose of landing the wounded and taking on provisions. 
As there were other ships in the neighborhood, according to the 
statements of the Englishmen, I saw myself faced with the cer- 
tainty of having soon to surrender because of a lack of ammuni- 
tion. But for no price did I and my men want to get into English 




imprisonment. As I was thinking about all this, the masts again 
appeared on the horizon, the Emden steaming easterly, but very 
much slower. All at once the enemy, at high speed, shot by, ap- 
parently quite close to the Emden. A high white waterspout 
showed amidst the black smoke of the enemy. That was a 
torpedo. I saw*how the two opponents withdrew, the distance 
growing greater and greater between them ; how they separated, 
till they disappeared in the darkness. The fight had lasted ten 

"I had made up my mind to leave the island as quickly as pos- 
sible. The E'mden was gone ; the danger for us growing. In the 
harbor I had noticed a three-master, the schooner Ayesha, Mr. 
Ross, the owner of the ship and of the island, had warned me 
that the boat was leaky, but I found it quite a seaworthy tub. 
Now provisions for eight weeks, and water for four, were quickly 
taken on board. The Englishmen very kindly showed us the best 
water and gave us clothing and utensils. They declared this was 
their thanks for our 'moderation' and 'generosity.* Then they 
collected the autographs of our men, photographed them and 
gave three cheers as our last boat put off. It was evening, nearly 
dark, when we sailed away. 

'The Ayesha proved to be a really splendid boat. We had only 
one sextant and two chronometers on board, but a chronometer 
journal was lacking. Luckily I found an 'Old Indian Ocean Di- 
rectory' of 1882 on board; its information went back to the 
year 1780. 

'*I had said : 'We are going to East Africa.' Therefore I sailed 
at first westward, then northward. There followed the monsoons, 
but then also, long periods of dead calm. Only two neutral ports 
came seriously under consideration; Batavia and Padang. A1 
Keeling I had cautiously asked about Tsing-tau, of which I had 
naturally thought first, and so quite by chance I learned that it 
had fallen. Now I decided for Padang, because I knew I would be 
more apt to meet the Emden there, also because there was a 
German consul there, because my schooner was unknown there 
and because I hoped to find German ships there, and learn some 
news. 'It'll take you six to eight days to reach Batavia' a captain 


had told me at Keeling. Now we needed eighteen days to reach 
Padang, the weather was so rottenly still." 

The suffering of the crew of the Emden on their perilous voy- 
age is here told in the captain^s words: "We had an excellent 
cook aboard; he had deserted from the French Foreign Legion. 
We had to go sparingly with our water; each man received but 
three glasses daily. When it rained, all possible receptacles were 
placed on deck and the main sail was spread over the cabin roof 
to catch the rain. 

"At length as we came in the neighborhood of Padang, on the 
26th of November, 1915, a ship appeared for the first time and 
looked for our name. But the name had been painted over, be- 
cause it was the former English name. As I thought, 'You're rid 
of the fellow' the ship came up again in the evening, and steamed 
within a hundred yards of us. I sent all my men below deck, and 
I promenaded the deck as the solitary skipper. Through Morse 
signals the stranger gave her identity. She proved to be the 
Hollandish torpedo boat Lynx, I asked by signals, 'Why do you 
follow me?' No answer. The next morning I found myself in 
Hollandish waters, so I raised pennant and war flag. Now the 
Lynx came at top speed past us. As it passed I had my men line 
up on deck, and gave a greeting. The greeting was answered. 
Then, before the harbor at Padang, I went aboard the Lynx in 
my well and carefully preserved uniform and declared my inten- 
tions. The commandant opined that I could run into the harbor, 
but whether I might come out again was doubtful. 

"Three German ships were in the harbor at Padang," con- 
tinues Captain Miicke. "The harbor authorities demanded the 
certification for pennant and war flag, also papers to prove that 
I was the commander of this warship. For that, I answered, I 
was only responsible to my superior officer. Now they advised 
me most insistently to allow ourselves to be interned peacefully. 
They said it wasn't at all pleasant in the neighborhood. We'd 
fall into the hands of the Japanese or the English. As a matter 
of fact, we again had great luck. On the day before a Japanese 
warship had been cruising around here. Naturally, I rejected all 
the well-meant and kindly advice, and did th^s in the presence of 


my lieutenants. I demanded provisions, water, sails, tackle, and 
clothing. They replied we could take on board everything which 
we had formerly had on board, but nothing which would mean 
an increase in our naval strength. 

"First thing, I wanted to improve our wardrobe, for I had 
only one sock, a pair of shoes, and one clean shirt, which had 
become rather threadbare. My comrades had even less. But the 
master of the port declined to let us have, not only charts, but 
also clothing and toothbrushes, on the ground that these would be 
an increase in armament. Nobody could come aboard, nobody 
could leave the ship without permission. I requested that the 
consul be allowed to come aboard. The consul, Herr Schild, as 
also did the brothers Baumer, gave us assistance in the friend- 
liest fashion. From the German steamers boats could come along- 
side and talk with us. Finally, we were allowed to have German 
papers. They were, to be sure, from August only. From then 
until March, 1915, we saw no papers. 

"Hardly had we been towed out of the harbor again after 
twenty-four hours, on the evening of the 28th of November, 1914, 
when a searchlight flashed before us. I thought, 'Better interned 
than prisoner.' I put out all lights and withdrew to the shelter 
of the island. But they were Hollanders and didn't do anything 
to us. Then for two weeks more we drifted around, lying still 
for days. The weather was alternately still, rainy, and blowy. 
At length a ship, a freighter, came in sight. It saw us and made 
a big curve around us. I made everything hastily 'clear for bat- 
tle.' Then one of our officers recognized her for the Choising. 
She showed the German flag. I sent up light rockets, although 
it was broad day, and went with all sails set, that were still set- 
able, toward her. The Choising was a coaster from Hongkong 
to Siam. She was at Singapore when the war broke out, then 
went to Batavia, was chartered, loaded with coal for the enemy, 
and had put into Padang in need, because the coal in the hold 
had caught fire. There we had met her. 

"Great was our joy now. I had all my men come on deck and 
line up for review. The fellows hadn't a rag on. Thus, in nature's 
garb, we gave three cheers for the German flag on the Choising, 


The men of the Choising told us afterward *We couldn't make out 
what that meant, those stark-naked fellows all cheering.' The sea 
was too high, and we had to wait two days before we could board 
the Choising on December 16, 1914. We took very little with us ; 
the schooner was taken in tow. In the afternoon we sank the 
Ayesha and were all very sad. The good old Ayesha had served 
us faithfully for six weeks. The log showed that we had made 
1,709 sea miles under sail since leaving Keeling. She wasn't at 
all rotten and unseaworthy, as they had told me, but nice and 
white and dry inside. I had grown fond of the boat, on which 
I could practice my old sailing maneuvers. The only trouble was 
that the sails would go to pieces every now and then, because they 
were so old. 

"But anyway, she went down quite properly. We had bored a 
hole in her ; she filled slowly and then all of a sudden disappeared. 
That was the saddest day of the whole month. We gave her three 
cheers, and my next yacht at Kiel will be named Ayesha, that is 

"To the captain of the Choising I had said, when I hailed him, 
*I do not know what will happen to the ship. The war situation 
may make it necessary for me to strand it.' He did not want to 
undertake the responsibility. I proposed that we work together, 
and I would take the responsibility. Then we traveled together 
for three weeks, from Padang to Hodeida. The Choising was 
some ninety meters long, and had a speed of nine miles, though 
sometimes only four. If she had not accidentally arrived I had 
intended to cruise along the west coast of Sumatra to the region 
of the northern monsoon. I came about six degrees north, then 
over toward Aden to the Arabian coast. In the Red Sea the north- 
eastern monsoon, which here blows southeast, could bring us to 
D Jidda. I had heard in Padang that Turkey was still allied with 
Germany, so we would be able to get safely through Arabia to 

"I next waited for information through ships, but the Choising 
did not know anything definite, either. By way of the Luchs, the 
Konigsberg and Kormoran the reports were uncertain. Besides, 
according to newspapers at Aden, the Arabs were said to have 


fought with the English; therein there seemed to be offered an 
opportunity near at hand to damage the enemy. I therefore 
sailed with the Choising in the direction of Aden. Lieutenant 
Cordts of the Choising had heard that the Arabian railway al- 
ready went almost to Hodeida, near the Perin Strait. The ship's 
surgeon there, Docounlang, found confirmation of this in Meyer's 
Traveling Handbook. This railway could not have been taken 
over by the Englishmen, who always dreamt of it. By doing 
this they would have further and completely wrought up the 
Mohammedans by making more difficult the journey to Mecca. 
Best of all, we thought, *We*ll simply step into the express train 
and whizz nicely away to the North Sea.' Certainly there would 
be safe journeying homeward through Arabia. To be sure, we 
had maps of the Red Sea; but it was the shortest way to the 
foe whether in Aden or in Germany. 

"On the 7th of January, 1915, between nine and ten o'clock 
in the evening, we sneaked through the Strait of Perin. It lay 
swarming full of Englishmen. We steered along the African 
coast, close past an English cable layer. That was my greatest 
delight — how the Englishmen will be vexed when they learn that 
we passed safely by Perin. On the next evening we saw on the 
coast a few lights near the water. We thought that must be 
the pier of Hodeida. But when we measured the distance by 
night, three thousand meters, I began to think that must be 
something else. At dawn I made out two masts and four smoke- 
stacks; that was an enemy ship and, what is more, an armored 
French cruiser. I therefore ordered the Choising to put to sea, 
and to return at night. 

"The next day and night the same; then we put out four 
boats — ^these we pulled to shore at sunrise under the eyes of the 
unsuspecting Frenchmen. The sea reeds were thick. A few 
Arabs came close to us ; then there ensued a difficult negotiation 
with the Arabian coast guards. For we did not even know 
whether Hodeida was in English or French hands. We waved 
to them, laid aside our arms, and made signs to them. The 
Arabs, gathering together, began to rub two fingers together; 
that means *We are friends.' We thought it meant 'We are going 


to rub against you and are hostile.* I therefore said: 'Boom- 
boom' and pointed to the warship. At all events, I set up my 
machine guns and made preparations for a skirmish. But, thank 
God, one of the Arabs understood the word 'Germans' ; that was 

"Soon a hundred Arabs came and helped us and as we marched 
into Hodeida the Turkish soldiers who had been called out 
against us saluted us as Allies and friends. To be sure, there was 
not a trace of a railway, but we were received very well and they 
assured us we could get through by land. Therefore, I gave red- 
star signals at night, telling the Choising to sail away, since the 
enemy was near by. Inquiries and deliberations concerning a 
safe journey by land proceeded. I also heard that in the interior 
about six days' journey away, there was healthy highland where 
our fever invalids could recuperate. I therefore determined to 
journey next to Sana. On the kaiser's birthday we held a great 
parade in common with the Turkish troops — all this under the 
noses of the Frenchmen. On the same day we marched away 
from Hodeida to the highland. 

"Two months later we again put to sea. The time spent in the 
highland of Sana passed in lengthy inquiries and discussions that 
dually resulted in our foregoing the journey by land through 
Arabia, for religious reasons. But the time was not altogether 
lost. The men who were sick with malaria had, for most part, 
recuperated in the highland air. 

"The Turkish Government placed at our disposal two sambuks 
(sailing ships), of about twenty-five tons, fifteen meters long 
and four wide. But, in fear of English spies, we sailed from 
Jebaua, ten miles north of Hodeida. That was on March 14, 1915. 
At first we sailed at a considerable distance apart, so that we 
would not both be captured if an English gunboat caught us. 
Therefore, we always had to sail in coastal water. That is full 

iof coral reefs, however." 
Captain Miicke had charge of the first sambuk. Everything 
went well for three days. On the third day the order was given 
for the sambuks to keep near together because the pilot of the 


the twilight the men in the second sambuk felt a shock, then an- 
other, and a third. The water poured into it rapidly. It had 
run upon the reef of a small island, where the smaller sambuk 
had been able to pass on account of its lighter draft. Soon the 
stranded boat began to list over, and the twenty-eight men 
aboard had to sit on the gunwale. 

"We could scarcely move," narrated Lieutenant Gerdts, who 
commanded the stranded boat. "The other boat was nowhere 
in sight. Now it grew dark. At this stage I began to build a raft 
of spars and old pieces of wood that might keep us afloat. But 
soon the first boat came into sight again. The commander 
turned about and sent over his little canoe; in this and in our 
own canoe, in which two men could sit at each trip, we first trans- 
ferred the sick. Now the Arabs began to help us. But just then 
the tropical helmet of our doctor suddenly appeared above the 
water in which he was standing up to his ears. Thereupon the 
Arabs withdrew: We were Christians, and they did not know 
that we were friends. Now the other sambuk was so near that 
we could have swum to it in half an hour, but the seas were too 
high. At each trip a good swimmer trailed along, hanging to the 
painter of the canoe. When it became altogether dark we could 
not see the boat any more, for over there they were prevented by 
the wind from keeping any light burning. My men asked: *In 
what direction shall we swim?' I answered: *Swim in the direc- 
tion of this or that star ; that must be about the direction of the 
boat.' Finally a torch flared up over there — one of the torches 
that was still left from the Emden. But we had suffered con- 
siderably through submersion. One sailor cried out : 'Oh, psha ! 
It's all up with us now, that's a searchlight.' About ten o'clock 
we were all safe aboard, but one of our typhus patients wore 
himself out completely by exertion and died a week later. On 
the next morning we went over again to the wreck in order to 
seek the weapons that had fallen into the water. You see, the 
Arabs dive so well; they fetched up a considerable lot — ^both 
machine guns, all but ten of the rifles, though these were, to be 
sure, all full of water. Later they frequently failed to go off 
when they were used in firing. 


"Now we numbered, together with the Arabs, seventy men on 
the little boat. Then we anchored before Konfida and met Sami 
Bey. He had shown himself useful, even before, in the service 
of the Turkish Government, and had done good service as a 
guide in the last months of the adventure. He procured for us 
a larger boat of fifty-four tons. We sailed from the 20th of 
March, 1915, to the 24th, unmolested to Lith. There Sami Bey 
announced that three English ships were cruising about in order 
to intercept us. I therefore advised traveling a bit overland. 
I disliked leaving the sea a second time, but it had to be done." 
Captain Mucke explained that Lith is nothing but desert, 
and therefore it was very difficult to get up a caravan at once. 
They marched away on March 28, 1915, with only a vague suspi- 
cion that the English might have agents here also. They could 
travel only at night, and when they slept or camped around a 
spring, there was only a tent for the sick men. Two days' march 
from Jeddah, the Turkish Government having received word 
about the crew, sent sixteen good camels. 

"Suddenly, on the night of April 1, 1915, things became un- 
easy," said Captain Mucke. "I was riding at the head of the 
column. All our shooting implements were cleared for action, 
because there was danger of an attack from Bedouins, whom 
the English had bribed. When it began to grow a bit light I 
thought: * We're through for to-day'; for we were tired — had 
been riding eighteen hours. Suddenly I saw a line flash up before 
me, and shots whizzed over our heads. Down from the camels ! 
iWe formed a fighting line. You know how quickly it becomes 
lylight there. The whole space around the desert hillock was 
jcupied. Now we had to take up our guns. We rushed at the 
lemy. They fled, but returned again, this time from all sides. 
Several of the gendarmes that had been given to us as an escort 
rere wounded; the machine-gun operator fell, killed by a shot 
trough the heart; another was wounded. Lieutenant Schmidt 
^as mortally wounded. He received a bullet in the chest and 
Another in the abdomen. 

'Suddenly, they waved white cloths. The sheik, to whom a 
part of our camels belonged, went over to them to negotiate, then 


Sami Bey and his wife. In the interim we quickly built a sort 
of wagon barricade, a circular camp of camel saddles, of rice and 
coffee sacks, all of which we filled with sand. We had no shovels, 
and had to dig with our bayonets, plates, and hands. The whole 
barricade had a diameter of fifty meters. Behind it were dug 
trenches, which we deepened even during the skirmish. The 
camels inside had to lie down, and thus served very well as cover 
for the rear of the trenches. Then an inner wall was constructed, 
behind which we carried the sick men. In the very center we 
buried two jars of water, to guard us against thirst. In addition 
we had ten petroleum cans full of water; all told, a supply for 
four days. Late in the evening Sami*s wife came back from the 
futile negotiations, alone. She had unveiled for the first and 
only time on this day of the skirmish, had distributed cartridges 
and had acted faultlessly. 

"Soon we were able to ascertain the number of the enemy. 
There were about 300 men ; we numbered fifty, with twenty-nine 
machine guns. In the night Lieutenant Schmidt died. We had 
to dig his grave with our hands and with our bayonets, and to 
eliminate every trace above it, in order to protect the body. 
Rademacher had been buried immediately after the skirmish 
with all honors. 

"The wounded had a hard time of it. We had lost our 
medicine chest in the wreck; we had only little packages of 
bandages for skirmishes ; but no probing instrument, no scissors, 
were at hand. On the next day our men came up with thick 
tongues, feverish, and crying : *Water, water !* But each one re- , 
ceived only a little cupful three times each day. If our water 
supply became exhausted we would have to sally forth from 
our camp and fight our way through. At night we always 
dragged out the dead camels that had served as cover and had 
been shot. 

"This continued about three days. On the third day there 
were new negotiations. Now the Bedouins demanded arms no 
longer, but only money. This time the negotiations took place 
across the camp wall. When I declined the Bedouin said, *Lots 
of fight.' I said, Tlease go to it.' 


"We had only a little ammunition left, and very little water. 
Now it really looked as if we would soon be dispatched. The 
mood of the men was pretty dismal. Suddenly, at about ten 
o'clock in the morning, there bobbed up in the north two riders 
on camels, waving white cloths. Soon afterward there appeared, 
coming from the same direction, far back, a long row of camel 
troops, about a hundred ; they drew rapidly nearer, rode singing 
toward us, in a picturesque train. They were the messengers 
and the troops of the Emir of Mecca. 

"Sami Bey's wife, it developed, had in the course of the first 
negotiations, dispatched an Arab boy to Jeddah. From that 
place the governor had telegraphed to the emir. The latter at 
once sent camel troops with his two sons and his personal sur- 
geon; the elder, Abdullah, conducted the negotiations, and the 
surgeon acted as interpreter in French. Now things proceeded 
in one-two-three order, and the whole Bedouin band speedily dis- 
appeared. From what I learned later I know definitely that they 
had been corrupted with bribes by the English. They knew when 
and where we would pass, and they had made all preparations. 
Now our first act was a rush for water; then we cleared up our 
camp, but had to harness our camels ourselves, for the camel 
drivers had fled at the very beginning of the skirmish. 

"Then, under the safe protection of Turkish troops, we got to 
Jeddah. There the authorities and the populace received us very 
well. From there we proceeded in nineteen days by sail boat to 
Elwesh, and under abundant guard with the Suleiman Pasha, 
in a five-day caravan journeyed to El Ula." 

"Have I received the Iron Cross?*' was the first question Cap- 
tain Mucke asked when he got to that place, and old newspapers 
which he found there told him that he had. A few days later the 
)arty was on train, riding toward Germany. 




THE first year of the war came to an end in August, 1915, 
with the naval situation much the same as it stood at the end 
of the first six months. The navy of practically every belligerent 
was intact; the Allies enjoyed the freedom of the seas, but the 
fact that a German fleet lay intact in the North Sea, and an 
Austrian fleet lay intact in the Adriatic Sea, indicated only the 
naval supremacy of the Allies, but not that they had won de- 
cisive naval victories. 

As there had been no victory there had been no defeat, yet 
there had been losses to all concerned. The mine and the sub- 
marine had changed somewhat the methods of naval warfare — 
the enemies "nibbled" at their opponents' fleets. Battleships 
were lost, though the first year of the Great War had seen no 
pitched battle between ships of that class. 

During the second six months of the war England lost the five 
old battleships Irresistible, Ocean, Goliath, Triumph, and Ma- 
jestic; the destroyers Recruit and Maori; and the submarine E-15 
and another unidentified; and the auxiliary cruisers Clan Mc- 
Naughton, Bayano, and Princess Irene. Her ally France had 
lost, during the same period, the old battleship Bouvet, the 
cruiser Leon Gambetta, the destroyer Dague, and the submarines 
Joule, Mariotte, and one unidentified. 

The losses on the other side were confined to the German navy, 
with the exception of the Turkish cruiser Medjidieh. Germany 
lost the battleship Pommern; the cruisers Dresden and Konigs- 
berg; the submarines U-12, U-29, U-8, one of the type of the U-2, 
and another unidentified; two unidentified torpedo boats; and 
the auxiliary cruisers Prinz Eitel Friedrich (interned) , Holger, 
Kronprinz Wilhelm (interned), and Macedonia. Also the de- 
stroyer G'196, the mine layer Albatross, and the auxiliary cruiser 


In retaliation for having her flag swept from the seas, Ger- 
many's submarines, during the second six months of the war, 
had sunk a total of 153 merchant ships, including those belong- 
ing to neutral countries as well as to her enemies. The total 
tonnage of these was about 500,000 tons ; 1,643 persons died in 
going down with these ships. 

Not of the least importance were the precedents that were 
established, or attempted to be established, by Germany in con- 
ducting naval warfare with her submarine craft. In a note 
delivered to the United States Government, the German Govern- 
ment declared that British merchant vessels were not only armed 
and instructed to resist or even attack submarines, but often dis- 
guised as to nationality. Under such circumstances it was 
assumed to be impossible for a submarine commander to conform 
to the established custom of visit and search. Accordingly, 
vessels of neutral nations were urgently warned not to enter the 
submarine war zone. The war zone which she proclaimed about 
Great Britain had no precedent in history, and it immediately 
brought to her door a number of controversies with neutrals, 
particularly the United States. The sinking of liners carrying 
passengers claiming citizenship in neutral countries was another 
precedent, which had the same effect with regard to diplomatic 

Predictions that had been made long before the war came 

were found to be worthless ; there were those who had predicted 

that Germany in the event of war with England would give 

imediate battle with her largest ships ; but twelve months went 

)y without an actual battle between superdreadnoughts. "Der 

'ag" had not come. There were those who had predicted that 

le British navy would force the German ships out of their pro- 

jted harbors. 'We shall dig the rats out of their holes," said 

>. Winston Churchill, British Secretary of State for the Navy 

the early months of the war. Mr. Churchill was removed 

from his position, and twelve months passed by with the German 

ships still in their **holes." 

Certain lessons had been taught naval authorities of all nations 
through the actual use of the modem battleship in war. The 

14— War St. a 


first year showed that the largest ships must have very high 
speed and long gun range. To some extent the fact that the 
fighting ships of nearly all of the belligerent countries were thus 
equipped changed battle tactics. 

When the allied fleets had started their bombardment of the 
Turkish forts at the Dardanelles they were breaking certain 
well-defined rules which had been axiomatic with naval author- 
ities. The greatest of modern battleships were designed to fight 
with craft of their like, but not to take issue with land fortifica- 
tions. For weeks, while the fleets succeeded in silencing for a 
time some of the Turkish forts, it was thought that this rule no 
longer held good. But when, after March 19, 1915, the fleets 
ceased attempting to take the passage without military coopera- 
tion, the worth of the rule was reestablished. The ease with which 
the bombarding ships were made victims of hostile submarines 
was greatly instrumental in making the rule again an axiom. 

The naval supremacy of the allied powers brought them cer- 
tain advantages — advantages which they had without winning 
a decisive victory. Germany and Austria were cut off from the 
Western Hemisphere, and were troubled, in consequence, by 
shortage in food for their civilian populations to a greater or 
lesser degree. This was perhaps a negative benefit derived by 
the Allies from their naval supremacy; the affirmative benefit 
was that their own communications with the Western Hemi- 
sphere were maintained, enabling them not only to get food for 
their civilian populations, but arms and munitions for their 
armies ; and even financial arrangements, which, if their emis- 
saries could not pass back and forth freely could not have been 
made, depended on their control of the high seas. 

They were able to keep the Channel clear of submarines long 
enough to permit the passage of the troops, which England from 
time to time during the first year of the war sent to the Con" 
tinent, and permitted the participation of the troops of the 
British overseas dominions, the troops from Canada joining 
those in France, and the troops from New Zealand and Australia 
taking their places in the trenches along the Suez Canal and on 
the Gallipoli Peninsula. Thus, to a certain extent, the advantage 


of continuous railroad communication which was enjoyed by the 
Teutonic allies "inside" the arena of military operations was 
offset by the naval communication maintained by the Entente 
Powers "outside" the arena of military operations. 



WHEN, on the 5th of February, 1915, the German admiralty 
proclaimed a "war zone" around the British Isles and 
announced that it would fight the sea power of the Allies with 
submarines, a new era in naval warfare had opened. In all 
previous wars, and in the earlier months of the Great War, 
submarines were employed as auxiliaries to the larger naval 
units. The Germans were the first to use them as separate units. 
The idea of sending a fleet of submarines out on to the high 
seas was a new one, and had been impossible in the last war in 
which they had been used — ^that between Russia and Japan. But 
the improvements which had been made in their design and 
equipment since then had made an actual cruising submarine 
possible, and made possible the new phase of naval warfare in- 
augurated by the German admiralty. 

While Germany was the last great sea power to adopt the sub- 

Iiarine as a weapon, both England and Germany, in the years 
nmediately preceding the war, had spent the same amounts of 
loney on this sort of craft — about $18,000,000 — but while the 
lermans had later given as much attention to them as to any 
ther sort of naval craft, the British authorities did not figure 
on employing the submarine as a separate offensive tactical unit 
being sufficiently equipped in large ships carrying large guns. 
And being weaker in capital ships Germany was compelled to 
rely upon underwater warfare in her campaign of attrition. Not 
only were the naval authorities of the rest of the world unin- 
formed about the improvements that German submarines carried, 


but they were fooled even as to the actual number which Ger- 
many had built. 

The most modem of the German submarines at the time had 
a length of 213 feet and a beam of twenty feet, these dimensions 
giving them sufficient deck space to mount thereon two rapid- 
fire guns, one of 3.5 inches and another of 1.4 inches. Their dis- 
placement was 900 tons, and they could make a speed of 18 
knots when traveling "light** (above water) , and 12 knots when 
traveling submerged. These speeds made it possible for them 
to overtake all but the fastest merchantmen, though not fast 
enough to run away from destroyers, gunboats, and fast cruisers. 
Their range of operation was 2,000 miles, and in the early 
months of 1915, it was possible for Germany to send two or 
three of them from their base in the North Sea to the Mediter- 
ranean. Germany was at the same time experimenting with a 
larger type, with a displacement of 1,200 tons and an operating 
distance of 5,000 miles. 

The ordinary submarine in service at the beginning of the 
war could remain below the surface for twenty-four hours at 
least. Reserve amounts of air for breathing were carried in 
tanks under pressure, and in the German type there were also 
chemical improvements for regenerating air. Contrary to the 
opinion of laymen, submerging was accomplished both by let- 
ting water into ballast tanks, and also by properly deflecting a 
set of rudders ; every submarine had two sets of rudders, one of 
which worked in vertical planes and pointed the prow of the ship 
either to the left or the right ; the other pair worked in horizontal 
planes and turned the prow either upward or downward. A 
pair of iins on the sides of the hull assisted action in both rising 
and diving. The action of water against the fins and rudders 
when the ship was in motion was exactly the same as that of the 
air against the planes of a kite ; to submerge one of the craft it 
was necessary to have it in motion and to have its horizontal 
rudders so placed that the resistance of the water would drive the 
ship downward ; the reverse operation drove it upward. And here 
lay a danger, for if the engines of a diving submarine stopped 
she was bound to come to the surface. Her presence, while 


moving entirely submerged could be detected by a peculiar swell 
which traveled on the water above; if submerged only so much 
as to leave the tip of her periscope still showing, the latter left 
an easily discernible wake. 

The periscope was merely a tube in which there were arranged 
mirrors so that anjrthing reflected in the first mirror, the one 
above the surface of the water, was again reflected till it showed 
in a mirror at the bottom of the tube, within the hull of the 
vessel, where its commander could observe it safely. A crew 
of about twenty-five men was necessary to operate one of these 
crafts, and theirs was an unpleasant duty, first because of the 
danger that accompanied each submergence of their vessel; second 
because of the discomforts abroad. The explosive engines which 
drove the craft, whether burning oil or the lighter refinements 
such as gasoline, gave off gases that caused headaches and 
throbbing across the forehead ; and it was almost impossible to 
heat the interior of the craft. 

Though merchantmen had gone to the bottom as victims of 
German submarines before the proclamation of a "war zone" was 
issued they were individual cases; the first instance of a mer- 
chant ship being sunk as a result of the new policy of the Ger- 
man admiralty was the sinking of the British steamer Camhark 
on the 20th of February, 1915. This ship was bound for Liver- 
pool, from Huelva, Spain. While off the north coast of Wales, on 
the morning of the 20th, the periscope of a hostile submarine was; 
sighted only 200 yards ahead. The engines of the steamship 
were immediately reversed, but she had no time to make off, 
for a torpedo caught her amidships and she started to sink im- 
[mediately. Her crew managed to get off in small boats, but 
(all of their personal belongings were lost. 

The small Irish coasting steamer Downshire was made a victim 
[on the 21st of February, 1915, but instead of sending a torpedo 
[into her hull, the commander of the U-12, the submarine which 
^overhauled her, resorted to boarding. After trying to elude the 
[submarine by steering a zigzag course, the Downshire was finally 
[overtaken. The crew was ordered to take to the small boats, 
^hile nineteen men of the submarine, which had come above 


water, watched the operations from the deck. A crew from the 
submarine took one of the small boats of the steamship and 
rowed toward her. They placed a bomb in a vital spot and set 
it off, sinking the merchantman. In this way the submariners 
commander had saved a torpedo. A conversation which took 
place between the captains of the two craft revealed the methods 
by which the submarine commanders were able, not only to 
steal up on their intended victims, but to elude being sighted 
by the patrolling British warships. Some fishing smacks had 
been in the vicinity while the Downshire was sunk, and the 
British captain asked the German captain why they had not 
been attacked. The latter hinted that his plans worked best 
if the fishing boats were unmolested. When asked whether 
he had hidden behind one these little boats he changed the sub- 
ject, but it was learned later that the commanders of the sub- 
marines made a practice of coming to the surface right neaf 
fishing boats and bade them act as screens while they lay in 
wait for victims. By keeping the small boats covered with a 
deck gun or by putting a boarding crew aboard, it was possible 
for the commanders of the submarines to keep their persicop^s 
or the hulls of their vessels behind the sails of the fishing boats, 
unobservable to lookouts on larger ships. 

By the 23d of February, 1915, the success of German sub- 
marines had been so marked that the insurance rates on mer- 
chantmen went up. Lloyd's underwriters announced that the rate 
on transatlantic passage had gone up nearly one per cent. And 
on the same day it was announced that the British Government 
would thereafter regulate steamship traffic in the Irish Sea. 
Certain areas of the Irish Sea were closed to all kinds of traffic ; 
lines of passage were defined and had to be followed by all mer- 
chantmen, and vessels of all descriptions were ordered to keep 
away from certain parts of the coast from sunset to sunrise. 

The comparatively small size of the submarines made it pos- 
sible for the German admiralty to load them on to trains in 
sections and transport them where needed, and in this manner 
some were sent from the German ports on the North Sea to 
Zeebrugge, there assembled and launched. Others were sent to 


the Adriatic, arriving at Pola on the 25th of February, 1915. 
These were intended for use in the Mediterranean as well as 
in the Adriatic Sea. 

Neutral ships, in order to escape attack by German submarines 
had to resort to unusual methods of self-identification. The 
use of flags belonging to neutral countries by the merchantmen of 
belligerent powers made the usual identification by colors almost 
impossible, the German admiralty claiming that the commanders 
of submarines were unable to wait long enough, after stopping 
a vessel, to ascertain whether she had a right to fly one flag 
or another. Consequently the ships belonging to Dutch and 
American lines had their names painted with large lettering 
along their sides. At night, streamers of electric lights were hung 
over the sides to illuminate these letterings; and on the decks 
of many of the neutral ships their names and nationalities wer:e 
painted in large letters so that they might be identified by air- 
craft. Owing to such precautions the Dutch steamship Prinzes 
Juliana escaped being sunk by a torpedo on the 3d of March, 
1915. A submarine ran a parallel course to that followed by 
the Dutch ship, but after examining the lettering on her sides 
the commander of the German craft saw that she was not legit- 
imate game and turned off. 

Not always did the German submarines themselves succeed in 
escaping unharmed in their raiding of allied merchantmen. Re- 
wards were offered in Great Britain for the sinking of German 
submersibles by the commanders of British merchantmen. In- 
structions were issued in the British shipping periodicals, show- 
ing how a submarine might be sunk by being rammed. It was 
officially announced on the 5th of March, 1915, by the British 
admiralty, that the U-S had been rammed and sunk by a British 
rarship. The crew of twenty-nine was rescued and brought to 
iover. For the British this was a stroke of good fortune, for 
^hile the TJ-8 was of an earlier type it was a dangerous craft, 
Lving a total displacement of 300 tons, a radius of operation of 
[,200 miles, a speed of 13 knots when traveling "light" and a 
>eed of 8 knots when submerged. On the same day the French 
linister of marine announced that a FrencJh warship had come 


upon a German submarine of the type of the U-2 in the North 
Sea and that after firing at the hull of the vessel and hitting it 
three times it was seen to sink and did not reappear. 

During the last week of February and the first week of March, 
1915, bad weather on the waters surrounding the British Isles 
hampered the operations of German submarines to an extent 
which led the British public to believe that the submarine war- 
fare on merchantmen had been abandoned, but they were disil- 
lusioned when on the 9th of March, 1915, three British ships were 
sunk by the underwater craft. The steamship Tangistan was 
torpedoed off Scarborough, the Blackwood off Hastings and the 
Princess Victoria near Liverpool. Part of this was believed to 
be the work of the 17-16. 

In the three days beginning March 10, 1915, eight ships were 
made victims of German submarines in the waters about the 
British Isles. Most novel was the experience of a crowd gathered 
on the shore of one of the Scilly Islands on March 12, 1915, 
when two of these eight ships, the Indian City and the Head- 
lands, were torpedoed. At about eight in the morning the 
islanders on St. Mary's Island saw a German submarine over- 
take the former and sink her. The German vessel then remained 
in the adjacent waters to watch for the approach of another 
victim, while two patrol boats near by put out and opened fire 
on her. The crowd saw the enemies exchange shots at a distance 
of ten miles off shore. But neither side put in any effective shots, 
and the combat ended when the submarine dived and retired. 

The steamship Headlands was then sighted by the commander 
of the submarine and he immediately started to pursue her. The 
steamship steered a zigzag course, but the submarine got in a 
position to launch a torpedo, and at about half past ten in the 
morning the crowd on the shore saw steam escaping from her in 
large quantities. Some time after they saw a large volume of 
black smoke and debris fly upward and they knew that another 
torpedo had found its mark. She then settled, her crew and the 
men from the Indian City reaching St. Mary's in small boats. 

To keep British harbors free from the German submarines the 
British admiralty had to set their engineers to work to devise 


some method of trapping the underwater craft automatically, 
for there seemed to be no sort of patrol which they could not 
elude. Steel traps, not unlike the gill nets used by fishermen, 
were finally hit upon as the best thing to use against the sub- 
marines, and by March 13, 1915, a number of these were installed 
at entrances to some of the British harbors. They were made 
of malleable iron frames, ten feet square, used in sets of threes, 
so arranged that they might hold a submarine by the sides and 
have the third of the set buckle against its bottom. They were 
suspended by buoys about thirty feet below the surface of the 
water. When a submarine entered one of these it was held 
fast, for the frame which came up from the bottom caught the 
propeller and made it impossible for the submarine to work 
itself loose. The disadavantage to the submarine was that, 
while traveling under water, it traveled "blind" ; the periscopes 
in use were good only for observation when the top of them 
were above water; when submerged the commander of a sub- 
marine had to steer by chart. By the end of March, 1915, a 
dozen submarines had been caught in nets of this kind. 

I By the 18th of March, 1915, three more British ships had been 
made the victims of German torpedoes. The Atlanta was sunk 
©ff the west coast of Ireland only a day before the Fingal was 
sunk off Northumberland. And the Leeuwarden was sunk by 
being hit from the deck guns of a German submarine off the coast 
of Holland. There was no loss of life except during the sinking 
of the Fingal, some of whose men were drowned when she 
dragged a lifeboat full of men down with her. 

By way of variety the Germans attempted to sink a British 
ship in the "war zone" with bombs dropped from an airship, 
the news of which was brought to England by the crew and 
captain of the Blonde when they reached shore on March 18, 
1915. This ship had been German originally, but being in a 
British port when the war started was taken over and run by 
a British crew. Two or three mornings before the men landed 
they had noticed a Taube aeroplane circling over their ship at 
about 500 feet altitude. It then swept downward and took a 
close look at the vessel. Two bombs which fell into the water 


near the ship, were dropped by the German aviator. The captain 
of the Blonde ordered that the rudder of his ship be fastened so 
that she might drive in a circle and her engines were set at full 
speed, with the intention of making a more difficult target for 
the airship's bombs. The whistle of the ship was set going and 
continued to blow in the hope of attracting help from other ships. 
More bombs were near the vessel, but none of them found its 
mark. After one more attempt, when only 300 feet above the 
ship's deck, the aviator let go with his last supply, but again 
being unsuccessful he veered off to the north and allowed the 
Blonde to escape. 

The naval attack on the Dardanelles is told in another chapter, 
but the work of the Allies' submarines there included the use 
of French submarines, which is not narrated elsewhere. On the 
19th of March, 1915, Rear Admiral Guepratte of the French 
navy reported that one of his submarines had attempted, without 
success, to run through the Dardanelles. The object of the 
attempt was to sink the Turkish battle cruiser Sultan Selim, 
formerly the Goeben. The submarine submerged and got as far 
as Nagara. But she had to travel *'blind" and her captain, being 
unfamiliar with those waters, struck some rocks near the shore 
and immediately brought her to the surface. She became a 
target for the land guns of the Turks at once and was sunk, only 
a few of her men, who were taken prisoners, escaping death. 

On the 19th of March, 1915, the British admiralty reported 
that the three British ships, Hyndford, Bluejacket, and Glen- 
artney had been torpedoed in the "war zone" without warning, 
with the loss of only one man. Beachy Head in the British Chan- 
nel had been the scene of most of the operations of German sub- 
marines against British ships, and consequently, when on the 
21st of March, 1915, the collier Cairntorr was torpedoed in that 
region, no unusual comment was made by the admiralty. Here- 
tofore the scene of the latest attack had been thought worthy of 
mention on account of the unusual and unexpected places that 
submarines chose for action. 

A new phase of the submarines' activities was opened on 
March 21, 1915, when two Dutch ships Batavier V and Zaaiv- 


stroom were held up and captured. The U-28 had for some days 
been hiding near the Maas Lightship, and had been taking shots 
with torpedoes at every ship which came within range. The 
Batavier V had left the Hook of Holland on March 18, 1915. At 
about five o'clock that morning she came near the Maas Lightship 
on her way to England, whence she was carrying provisions and 
a register of fifty-seven persons, including passengers and crew ; 
among the former there were a number of women and children. 
Suddenly a submarine appeared off her port bow, and her cap- 
tain was ordered to stop his ship. This he did readily, for he had 
been thus stopped before, only to be allowed to proceed. But this 
time the commander of the submarine, the U-28, shouted to him 
through a megaphone : "I am going to confiscate your ship and 
take it to Zeebrugge." 

While the two commanders were arguing over the illegality of 
this, the Zaanstroom was sighted, and was immediately overtaken 
by the submarine. An officer and a sailor from the submarine 
had been placed on the Batavier V, and this prevented her escap- 
ing while the pursuit of the Zaanstroom was on. A similar detail 
was now placed on the latter, and her captain was ordered to 
follow the U-28 which returned to the Batavier V. "Follow me 
to Zeebrugge" was the order which the commander of the sub- 
marine gave the two ships, and their captains obeyed. They 
arrived at Zeebrugge at noon, and were immediately un- 
loaded. Those of the passengers and crews who were citizens 
of neutral countries were sent to Ghent and there released, 
while all those aboard, such as Belgians and Frenchmen, wer* 

When possible, the commanders of the German submarines 
saved their costly torpedoes and used shell fire instead to sink 
their victims. This was done in the case of the steamship Vosges, 
which was sunk on March 28, 1915. For two hours, while the 
engines of the steamship were run at full speed in an attempt to 
get away from the submarine, she was under fire from two deck 
guns on board the submersible. Though the latter made off at 
the approach of another vessel, her shells did enough damage to 
cause the Vosges to sink a few hours later 


Up to the middle of March, 1915, all the ships which had be- 
come victims of German submarines had been of the slower coast- 
ing variety. There had been numerous unconfirmed reports that 
the faster transatlantic ships had been chased, but no credence 
had been given to them. On the 27th of March, 1915, however, 
when the Arabic arrived at Liverpool it was reported by those on 
board that she had given a submarine a lively chase and had 
gotten away safely. At about nine o'clock the evening before the 
submarine was sighted off Holyhead. She was only 200 yards 
ahead, and while her commander jockeyed for a position from 
which he could successfully launch a torpedo, the commander of 
the Arabic gave the order "Full speed ahead." His passengers 
lined the rail of the ship to watch the maneuvers. Soon the 
steamship had up a speed of 18 knots, which was a bit too fast 
for the submarine, and she fell to the rearward. Her chance for 
launching a torpedo was gone, but she brought her deck guns into 
action, firing two shots which went wild. The Arabic proceeded 
to port unmolested. 

At times even the cost of shell fire was figured by the com- 
manders of German submarines, and pistol and rifles were used 
instead. This was done in the case of the Delmira on the 26th of 
March, 1915. This steamship was sunk off Boulogne. Ten 
minutes were given by the crew of the submarine to the crew of 
the steamship for them to get off. The submarine had come up 
off the bow of the Delmira, and men standing on the deck of the 
former had fired shots toward the bridge of the latter to make 
her captain bring her to a stop. The latter ordered his engines 
started again at full speed, with the intention of ramming the 
enemy, but his Chinese stokers refused to obey the order, and 
his ship did not move. The crew of the steamship got into their 
small boats, and for an hour and a half these were towed by the 
submarine so that their row to shore would not be so long. Though 
torpedoed, the Delmira did not sink, and was last seen in a burn- 
ing condition off the French coast near Cape de la Hogue. 

The sinking of the steamship Falaba, which is mentioned, 
though not narrated in full, in another chapter, was the last act 
of German submarines during the month of March, 1915. This 




ship on the 29th of March, 1915, was overtaken by a German 
submarine in St. George's Channel. She was engaged in the 
African trade, voyaging between the African ports and Liver- 
pool. On her last journey she carried a crew of 90 men and some 
160 passengers, many of the latter being women and children. 
The commander of the submarine brought his craft to the sur- 
face off the bow of the Falaba, and gave the captain of the steam- 
ship five minutes in which to put his crew and passengers into 
lifeboats. A torpedo was sent against her hull and found the 
engine room, causing a tremendous explosion. One hundred and 
eleven persons lost their lives because they had not been able to 
get off in time, or because they were too near the liner when she 
went down. This was the most important merchantman which 
had been sent to the bottom by a submarine since the proclama" 
tion of February 15, 1915. 

The next two victims of this sort of warfare were the steam- 
ships Flaminian and the Crown of Castile, one of which was 
sunk by the U-28, and the other by an unidentified submarine on 
April 1, 1915. They went down off the west coast of England 
with no loss of life, though the Crown of Castile was torpedoed 
before her crew could get off. The Flaminian had tried to get 
away, but had to stop under fire from deck guns on the sub- 

arine. The shells did not hit her in vital spots, however, and 
it was necessary to send a torpedo into her hull to sink her. 

The ease with which submarines had been able to bob up in un- 
expected places and to sink British merchantmen, in spite of the 
patrols maintained by British warships, caused the captains of 
merchant vessels to petition the British Government to be allowed 
to arm their vessels on April 1, 1915. This was not granted, be- 

use their being armed would have made the steamship legiti- 
mate prey for the submarines, nor was any attention paid to the 
demand made by the British press that the crews and officers of 
aptured German submarines be treated, not as prisoners of war, 
ut as pirates. Reprisals on the part of the Germans was feared. 

Beachy Head on the 1st of April, 1915, was again the scene of 

o successful attacks on merchantmen by submarines. On that 
ay the French steamship Emma, after being torpedoed, went to 


the bottom with all of the nineteen men in her crew. The same 
submarine sank the British steamer Seven Seas, causing the 
deaths of eleven of her men. 

In order to indicate the amount of harm which the submarine 
warfare caused British shipping, the admiralty on April 1, 1915, 
announced that though five merchantmen had been sent to the 
bottom and one had been only partially damaged by submarines 
during the week ending March 31, 1915, some 1,559 vessels 
entered and sailed from British ports during the same period. 

Efforts were made to damage the base, from which many of 
the German submarines had been putting out at Zeebrugge, with 
aircraft. On the 1st of April, 1915, the British Government's 
press bureau announced that bombs had been dropped, with un- 
known success, on two German submarines lying there, and that 
on the same day a British airman had flown over Hoboken and 
had seen submarines in building there. 

The steamship Lockwood, while off Start Point in Devonshire, 
was hit abaft the engine room by a German torpedo on the morn- 
ing of April 2, 1915, and though she went down almost immedi- 
ately, her crew was able to get off in small boats and were picked 
up by fishing travelers. 

The U-28, which had done such effective work for the Germans 
during the month of March, 1915, was relieved of duty near the 
British Isles during the first week of April by the U.-Sl, which 
sank the Russian bark Hermes and the British steamship Olivine 
off the coast of Wales on April 5, 1915, 

The British admiralty decided in April, 1915, to use some other 
means besides the employment of torpedo boats and destroyers 
to keep watch for German submarines, and innocent-looking fish- 
ing trawlers were used for the purpose. While these could give 
no fight against a submarine, it was intended that they would 
carefully make for land to report after sighting one of the hostile 
craft. The Germans, discovering this strategy, then began to 
sink trawlers when they found them. On the morning of April 
5, 1915, one of these small craft was sighted and chased by the 
'U'20, After a pursuit of an hour or more the German ship was 
near enough for members of her crew to fire on the trawler with 


rifles. Her crew got into the small boat and were picked up later 
by a steamer. The trawler was sent to the bottom. 

The U-20 still kept up her raiding. On the 5th of April, 1915, 
she overtook the steamer Northland, a 2,000-ton ship, and tor- 
pedoed her off Beachy Head. The crew of the steamer were able 
to escape, although their ship went down only ten minutes after 
the submarine caught up with it. 

The use of nets to catch submarines was vindicated, when on 
the 6th of April, 1915, one of these vessels became entangled in 
a steel net near Dover and was held fast. The loss of the 11-29, 
which was commanded by the famous Otto von Weddigen, who 
commanded the U-9 when she sank the Hogue, Cressy, and 
Aboukir in September, 1914, was confirmed by a report issued 
by the German admiralty on April 7, 1915, after rumors of her 
loss had circulated throughout England and France for a num- 
ber of weeks. 

In order to encourage resistance on the part of crews of British 
vessels attacked by German submarines, the British Govern- 
ment rewarded the crew of the steamship Vosges. It was an- 
nounced on April 9, 1915, that the captain had been given a com- 
mission as a lieutenant in the Royal Naval Reserve and the Dis- 
tinguished Service Cross ; the remaining officers were given gold 
watches, and the crew were given $15 per man. 

Rumors had reached the outside world that the German sub- 
marines were using hidden spots to store fuel and provisions so 
that they might go about their raiding without having to return 
German ports for reprovisioning Neutral nations, such as 
he Netherlands and Norway, found it necessary, to maintain 
their neutrality, to keep watch for such action. On the 9th of 
pril, 1915, Norwegian airmen reported to their Government 
at such a cache had been discovered by them behind the cliif s in 
i^Bergen Bay. Submarines found there were ordered to intern or 
^Ko leave immediately, and chose to do the latter. 
^B Certain acts of the commanders of German submarines seemed 
^Bo make it evident that their intention was to sink ships of every 
^Blescription, no matter where found, in order to make the "war 
zone" a reality, and to make it shunned by neutral as well as 



belligerent ships. Thus the Dutch steamship Katwyk, which lay 
at anchor seven miles west of the North Hinder Lightship off the 
Dutch coast, was sunk. This lightship was maintained by the 
Netherlands Government and stood at the mouth of the River 
Scheldt, forty-five miles northwest of Flushing. The Katwyk 
was stationary there on the night of April 14, 1915, when the 
crew felt a great shock and saw that their ship was rapidly tak- 
ing water. They managed to reach the lightship in their life- 
boats just as their vessel sank. The same submarine sank the 
British steamer Ptarmigan only a few hours later. 

Among victims flying the flags of neutral nations the next ship 
was of American register. This was the tank steamship Gulf- 
light, which was torpedoed off the Scilly Islands on the 29th of 
May, 1915. The hole made in her hull was not large enough to 
cause her to sink, and she was able to get to port. But during the 
excitement of the attack her captain died of heart failure and two 
of her crew jumped into the sea and were drowned. Three days 
later the French steamship Europe and the British ship Fulgent 
were sent to the bottom, probably by the same submarine. 

The month of May, 1915, had opened with greater activity on 
the part of German submarines than had been shown for many 
weeks previous. Between the 1st and the 3d of that month seven 
ships were torpedoed, four of them being British, one Swedish, 
and two Norwegian. By the 5th of May, 1915, ten British 
trawlers had been sunk ; some of these were armed for attack on 
either German submarines or torpedo boats. 



ON the 7th of May, 1915, came the most sensational act com- 
mitted by German submarines since the war had started — the 
sinking of the Cunard liner Lusitania, The vessel which did this 
was one of the V-39 class. In her last hours above water the 

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5?S I 

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*5 i 


giant liner was nearing Queenstown on a sunny day in a calm sea. 
When about five miles off shore, near Old Head of Kinsale, on the 
soutiieastem coast of Ireland, a few minutes after two o'clock, 
while many of the passengers were at lunch and a few of them 
on deck, there came a violent shock. 

Five or six persons who had been on deck had noticed, a few 
moments before, the wake of something that was moving rapidly 
toward the ship. The moving object was a torpedo, which struck 
the hull to the forward on 1*ie starboard side and passed clean 
through the ship's engine room. She began to settle by the bows 
immediately, and the passengers, though cool, made rushes for 
lifebelts and for the small boats. The list of the boat made the 
launching of some of these impossible. 

The scenes on the decks of the sinking liner were heartrending. 
Members of families had become separated and ran wildly about 
seeking their relatives. The women and children were put into 
the lifeboats — ^being given preference. 

"I was on the deck about two o'clock," narrated one of the sur- 
vivors, "the weather was fine and bright and the sea calm. Sud- 
denly I heard a terrific explosion, followed by another, and the cry. 
went up that the ship had been torpedoed. She began to list at 
once, and her angle was so great that many of the boats on the 
port side could not be launched. A lot of people made a rush for 
the boats, but I went down to my cabin, took off my coat and 
vest and donned a lifebelt. On getting up again I found the 
decks awash and the boat going down fast by the head. I slipped 
lown a rope into the sea and was picked up by one of the life^ 

)ats. Some of the boats, owing to the position of the vessel, got 
jwamped, and I saw one turn over no less than three times, but 
eventually it was righted." 

Not all of the women and children got off the liner into the 

lall boats. "Women and children, under the protection of men, 

id clustered in lines on the port side of the ship," reported an- 
other survivor. "As the ship made her plunge down by the head, 
she finally took an angle of ninety degrees, and I saw this little 
army slide down toward the starboard side, dashing themselves 
against each other as they went, until they were engulfed." 

16— War St. 3 


Even under the stress of avoiding death the sight of the sink- 
ing hull was one that held the attention of those in the water. 
One of the sailors said afterward : "Her great hull rose into the 
air and neared the perpendicular. As the form of the vessel rose 
she seemed to shorten, and just as a duck dives so she disap- 
peared. She went almost noiselessly. Fortunately her propellers 
had stopped, for had these been going, the vortex of her four 
screws would have dragged down many of those whose lives were 
saved. She seemed to divide the water as smoothly as a knife 
would do it." 

Twenty minutes after the torpedo had struck the ship she had 
disappeared beneath the surface of the sea. "Above the spot 
where she had gone down," said one of the men who escaped 
death, "there was nothing but a nondescript mass of float- 
ing wreckage. Everywhere one looked there was a sea of 
waving hands and arms, belonging to the struggling men 
and frantic women and children in agonizing efforts to 
keep afloat. That was the most horrible memory and sight 
of all." 

Fishing boats and coasting steamers picked up many of the 
survivors some hours after the disaster. The frightened people 
in the small boaTs pulled for the shore after picking up as many 
persons as they dared without swamping their boats. Some 
floated about in the waters for three and four hours, kept up by 
their lifebelts. Some, who were good swimmers, managed to 
keep above water till help came; others became exhausted and 

Probably the best story, covering the entire period from the 
time the ship was hit till the survivors were landed at Queena- 
town, was told by Dr. Daniel V. Moore, an American physician : 
"After the explosion," said Dr. Moore, "quiet and order were soon 
accomplished by assurances from the stewards. I proceeded to 
the deck promenade for observation, and saw only that the ship 
was fast leaning to the starboard. I hurried toward my cabin 
below for a lifebelt, and turned back because of the difficulty in 
keeping upright. I struggled to D deck and forward to the first- 
class cabin, where I saw a Catholic priest. 


•*I could find no belts, and returned again toward E deck and 
aaw a stewardess struggling to dislodge a belt. I helped her with 
hers and secured one for myself. I then rushed to D deck and 
noticed one woman perched on the gunwale, watching a lowering 
lifeboat ten feet away. I pushed her down and into the boat, then 
I jumped in. The stem of the lifeboat continued to lower, but the 
bow stuck fast. A stoker cut the bow ropes with a hatchet, and 
we dropped in a vertical position. 

"A girl whom we had heard sing at a concert was struggling, 
and I caught her by the ankle and pulled her in. A man I 
grasped by the shoulders and I landed him safe. He was the 
barber of the first-class cabin, and a more manly man I never met. 

"We pushed away hard to avoid the suck, but our boat was fast 
filling, and we bailed fast with one bucket and the women's hats. 
The man with the bucket became exhausted, and I relieved him. 
In a few minutes she was filled level full. Then a keg floated up, 
and I pitched it about ten feet away and followed it. After 
reaching the keg I turned to see what had been the fate of our 
boat. She had capsized. Now a young steward. Freeman, ap- 
proached me, clinging to a deck chair. I urged him to grab the 
other side of the keg several times. He grew faint, but harsh 
speaking roused him. Once he said : 'I am going to go.' But I 
ridiculed this, and it gave him strength. 

"The good boat Brock and her splendid officers and men took 
us aboard. 

"At the scene of the catastrophe the surface of the water 

I seemed dotted with bodies. Only a few of the lifeboats seemed 
to be doing any good. The cries of *My God!' 'Save us!' and 
'Help!' gradually grew weaker from all sides, and finally a low 
weeping, wailing, inarticulate sound, mingled with coughing 
and gargling, made me heartsick. I saw many men die. Some 
appeared to be sleepy and worn out just before they went 
[ Officials of the Cunard Line claimed afterward that three sub- 
marines had been engaged in the attack on the liner, but, after 
all evidence had been sifted, the claim made by the Germans that 
only one had been present was found to be true. The com- 


mander of the submarine had evidently been well informed as to 
just what route the liner would take. Trouble with her engines, 
which developed after she had left New York, had brought her 
speed down to 18 knots, a circumstance which was in favor of 
the attacking vessel, for it could not have done much damage 
with a torpedo had she been going at her highest speed ; it would 
have given her a chance to cross the path of the torpedo as it ap- 
proached. No sign of the submarine was noticed by the lookout 
or by any of the passengers on the Lusitania until it was too late 
to maneuver her to a position of safety. A few moments before 
the white wake of the approaching torpedo was espied, the peri- 
scope had been seen as it came to the surface of the water. From 
that moment onward the Hner was doomed. 

The German admiralty report of the actual sinking of the ship, 
which was issued on the 14th of May, 1915, was brief. It read : 
"A submarine sighted the steamship Licsitania, which showed no 
flag, May 7, 2.20 Central European time, afternoon, on the south- 
east coast of Ireland, in fine, clear weather. 

"At 3.10 o'clock one torpedo was fired at the Liisitania, which 
hit her starboard side below the captain's bridge. The detonation 
of the torpedo was followed immediately by a further explosion 
of extremely strong effect. The ship quickly listed to starboard 
and began to sink. 

"The second explosion must be traced back to the ignition of 
quantities of ammunition inside the ship." 

One of the effects of the sinking of the Lttsitania was to cut 
down the number of passengers sailing to and from America to 
Europe on ships flying flags of belligerent nations. Attacks by 
submarines on neutral ships did not abate, however, for on the 
15th of May, 1915, the Danish steamer Martha was torpedoed in 
broad daylight and in view of crowds ashore off the coast of 
Aberdeen Bay. 

The sinking of ships in the "war zone" continued in spite of 
rumors that the German admiralty was expected to discontinue 
operations of the submarines against merchantmen on account of 
the unfriendly feeling aroused in neutral nations, particularly the 
United States. On the 19th of May, 1915, came the news that 


the British steamship Dumcree had been torpedoed off a point in 
the English Channel. A torpedo fired into her hull failed to sink 
her immediately, and a Norwegian ship came to her aid, passing 
her a cable and attempting to tow her to port. But the sub- 
marine returned, ahd fearing attack, the Norwegian ship made 
off. A second torpedo fired at the Dumcree had better effect than 
the first one, and she began to settle. When the submarine left 
the scene the Norwegian steamship again returned to the JDwm- 
cree and managed to take off all of her crew and passengers. 
Three trawlers, one of them French, were sunk in the same neigh- 
borhood during the next forty-eight hours. 

As soon as Italy entered the war an attempt was made by the 
Teutonic Powers to establish the same sort of submarine blockade 
in the Adriatic which obtained in the waters around Great 
Britain. This was evinced when the captain of the Italian steam- 
ship Marsala reported on May 21, 1915, that his ship had been 
stopped by an Austrian submarine, but the latter not wishing to 
disclose its location to the Italian navy, allowed his ship to pro- 
ceed unharmed. 

The suspicion that the German admiralty maintained bases for 
their submarines right on the coasts of Great Britain where the 
submersible craft could obtain oil for driving their engines, as 
well as supplies of compressed air and of food for the crew, was 
confirmed on the 14th of May, 1915, when it was reported that 
agents of the British admiralty had discovered caches of the kind 
at various points in the Orkney Islands, in the Bay of Biscay, 
and on the north and west coasts of Ireland. 

In order to damage shipping in the "war zone" by having ships 

go wrong through having no guiding lights an attack was made 

by a German submarine on the lighthouse at Fastnet, on the 

southern coast of Ireland, on the night of May 25, 1915. Shortly 

^_ after nine in the evening the submarine was sighted in the waters 

^Knear the lighthouse by persons on shore. She was about ten miles 

^Wrom Fastnet, near Barley Cove. When she came near enough to 

^Hthe lighthouse to use her deck guns, men on shore opened fire on 

^Rher with rifles, and she submerged, not to reappear in that neigh- 

rborhood again. 


But this same submarine managed to do other damage. The 
American steamship Nebraskan was in the neighborhood on its 
way to New York. The sea was calm and the ship was traveling 
at 12 knots, when some time near nine o'clock in the evening a 
shock was felt aboard. A second later there came a terrific ex- 
plosion, and a subsequent investigation showed that a large hole, 
20 feet square, had been torn in her starboard bow, not far from 
the water line. When she began to settle the captain ordered 
all hands into the small boats. They stayed near the dam- 
aged ship for an hour and saw that she was not going to sink. 
When they got aboard again they found that a bulkhead was 
keeping out the water sufficiently to allow her to proceed under 
her own steam. In crippled condition she made for port, being 
convoyed later by two British warships which answered her calls 
for help. 

In spite of the sharp diplomatic representations which were 
at the time passing back and forth between Germany and the 
United States over the matter of the German submarine warfare, 
the craft kept up as active a campaign against merchant ships 
as they did before the issues became pointed. On May 28, 1916, 
there came the news that three more ships had been sent to the 
bottom. The Spennymoor, a new ship, was chased and torpedoed 
off Start Point, near the Orkney Islands. Some of her crew were 
drowned when the lifeboat in which they were getting away 
capsized, carrying them down. On the same day the large liner 
Argyllshire was chased and fired upon by the deck guns of a 
hostile submarine, but she managed to get away. Not so fortu- 
nate, however, was the steamship Cadesby, While off the Scilly 
Islands on the afternoon of May 28, 1915, a German submarine 
hailed her, firing a shot from a deck gun across her bows as a 
signal to halt. Time was given for the crew and passengers to 
get into small boats, and when these were at a distance from 
the ship the deck guns of the submarine were again brought 
into action, and after firing thirty shots into her hull they 
«ank her. The third victim was the Swedish ship RoosvalL 
She was stopped and boarded off Malmoe by the crew of a 
German submarine. After examining her papers they per- 


mitted her to proceed, but later sent a torpedo Into her, sink- 
ing her. 

A new raider, the U'S4, made its appearance in the English 
Channel during the last week in May, 1915. On the twenty- 
eighth of the month this submarine sank the liner Ethiope. The 
captain of the steamship attempted some clever maneuvering, 
which did not accomplish its object. He paid no attention to a 
shot from the deck guns of the submarine which passed across 
his bow. The hostile craft then began to circle around the 
liner, while the rudder of the latter was put at a wide angle in 
an effort to keep either stem or bow of tlie ship toward the sub- 
marine, thus making a poor target for a torpedo. But the com- 
mander of the submarine saw through the movement and ordered 
fire with his deck guns. After shells had taken away the ship's 
bridge and had punctured her hull near the stem the crew and 
passengers were ordered into the small boats. They had hardly 
gotten twenty feet from their ship when she was rent by a violent 
explosion and went down. 

The transatlantic liner Megantic had better luck, for she man- 
aged to escape a pursuing submarine on May 29, 1915, as she was 
nearing Queenstown, Ireland, homeward bound. A notable 
change in the methods adopted by the commanders of submarines 
as a result of orders issued by the German admiralty in answer 
to the protests throughout the press of the neutral nations after 
the sinking of the Licsitania was the giving of warning to in- 
tended victims. By the end of May, 1915, in almost every in- 
I stance where a German submarine stopped and sank a merchant- 
man the crew was given time to get off their ship and the sub- 
marine did not hesitate to show itself. In fact, warning to stop 
"was generally given when the submarine's deck was above water 
and the gun mounted there had the victim "covered." This was 
done in the case of the British steamship Tullochmoor, which 
was torpedoed off Ushant near the most westerly islands of Brit- 
tany, France. 
On the 1st of June, 1915, there came the news of the sinking 
of the British ship Dixiana, near Ushant, by a German submarine 
which approached by aid of a clever disguise. The crew managed 


to get off the ship in time ; when they landed on shore they re- 
ported that the submarine had been seen and on account of sails 
which she carried was thought to be an innocent fishing boat. The 
disguise was penetrated too late for the Dixiana to make its 

The clear and calm weather which came with June, 1915, made 
greater activity on the part of German submarines possible. On 
the 4th of June, 1915, it was reported by the British admiralty 
that six more ships had been made victims, three of them being 
those of neutral countries. In the next twenty-four hours the 
number was increased by eleven, and eight more were added by 
the 9th of June, 1915. 

On that date Mr. Balfour, Secretary of the British admiralty, 
announced that a German submarine had been sunk, though he 
did not state what had been the scene of the action. At the sam^ 
time he announced that Great Britain would henceforth treat the 
captured crew of submarines in the same manner as were treated 
other war prisoners, and that the policy of separating these men 
from the others and of giving them harsher treatment would 
be abandoned. 

On the 20th of June, 1915, the day's reports of losses due to 
the operations of German submarines, issued by the British Gov- 
ernment, contained the news of the sinking of the two British 
torpedo boats, the No. 10 and the No, 20, No details were made 
public concerning just how they went down. 

On the same day the Italian admiralty announced that a cache 
maintained to supply submarines belonging to the Teutonic 
Powers and operating in the Mediterranean, had been discovered 
on a lonely part of the coast near Kalimno, an island off the 
southwest coast of Asia Minor. Ninety-six barrels of benzine 
and fifteen hundred barrels of other fuel were found and de- 
stroyed. It was believed that this supply had been shipped as 
kerosene from Saloniki to Piraeus. How submarines belonging 
to Germany had reached the southern theatre of naval warfare 
had been a matter of speculation for the outside world. But on 
the 6th of June, 1915, Captain Otto Hersing made public the 
manner in which he took the 17-51 on a 3,000 mile trip from Wil- 


helmshaven on the North Sea to Constantinople. He was the 
commander who managed to torpedo the British battleships 
Triumph and Majestic. 

He received his orders to sail on the 25th of April, 1915, and 
immediately began to stock his ship with extra amounts of fuel 
and provisions, allowing only his first officer and chief engineer 
to know the destination of their craft. He traveled on the sur- 
face of the water as soon as he had passed the guard of British 
warships near the German coast ; traveling "light" allowed him to 
make six or seven knots more in speed. As he passed through 
the "war zone" he kept watch for merchantmen which might be 
made victims of his torpedo tubes. His craft was sighted by a 
British destroyer, however, off the English coast and he had to 
submerge to escape the fire of the destroyer's guns. He then pro- 
ceeded cautiously down the coast of France, encountering no 
hostile ships. When within one hundred miles of Gibraltar he was 
again discovered by British destroyers, but again managed to 
escape by submerging his craft. 

Passage through the Strait of Gibraltar was made in the early 
morning hours, while a mist hung near the surface of the water 
and permitted no one at the fort to see the wake of the U-51*8 
periscope. Once inside the Mediterranean he headed for the 
south of Greece, escaping attack from a French destroyer and 
proceeding through the -^gean Sea to the Dardanelles. The 
journey ended on the 25th of May, just one month after leaving 

The British ships Triumph and Majestic were sighted early 
in the morning, but attack upon them was difficult on account of 
the destroyers which circled about them ; one of the destroyers 
passed right over the U-51 while she was submerged. Captaia 
Hersing brought her to the surface soon afterward and let go the 
torpedo which sank the Triumph, For the next two days thr 
submarine lay submerged, but came up on the following day and 
found itself right in the midst of the allied fleet. This time the 
Majestic was taken as the target for a torpedo and she went 
[down. Again submerging his vessel Captain Hersing kept it down 
for another day, and when he again came to the surface he saw 


that the fleets had moved away. He then returned to Constanti- 

On the 23d of June, 1915, the British cruiser Roxborough, an 
older ship, was hit by a torpedo fired by a German submarine in 
the North Sea, but the damage inflicted was not enough to pre- 
vent her from making port under her own steam. 

The deaths of a number of Americans occurred on the 28th of 
June, 1916, when the Leyland liner Armenian, carrying horses 
for the allied armies, was torpedoed by the U-38, twenty miles 
west by north of Trevose Head in Cornwall. According to the 
story of the captain of the vessel, the submarine fired two shots 
to signal him to stop. When he put on all speed in an attempt to 
get away from the raider her guns opened on his ship with 
ahrapnel, badly riddling it. She had caught fire and was burning 
in three places before he signaled that he would surrender. 
Thirteen men had meanwhile been killed by the shrapnel. Some 
of the lifeboats had also been riddled by the firing from the sub- 
marine's deck guns, making it more difficult for the crew to leave 
the ship. The German commander gave him ample time to get 
his boats off. 

To offset the advantage which the Germans had with their 
submarines the British admiralty commissioned ten such craft 
during the week of June 28, 1915. These vessels were of Ameri- 
can build and design and were assembled in Canada. During the 
week mentioned they were manned by men sent for the purpose 
from England. Each was manned by four officers and eighteen 
men, to take them across the Atlantic. Never before in history 
had so many submarines undertaken a voyage as great. They got 
under way from Quebec on July 2, 1915, and proceeded in column 
two abreast, a big auxiliary cruiser, which acted as their escort 
steaming in the center. 

The next large liner which had an encounter with the German 
submarine US9 was the Anglo-Calif ornian. She came into Queenak 
town on the morning of July 5, 1915, with nine dead sailors lying 
on the deck, nine wounded men in their bunks, and holes in her 
Bides made by shot and shell. She had withstood attack from a 
German submarine for four hours. Her escape from destruction 



was accomplished through only the spirit of the captain and his 
crew, combined with the fact that patrol vessels came to her aid 
forcing the submarine to submerge. 

A variety in the methods used by the commanders of German 
submarines was revealed in the stopping of the Norwegian ship 
Vega which was stopped on the 15th of July, while voyaging 
from Bergen to Newcastle. The submarine came alongside the 
steamship at night and the commander of the submarine super- 
vised the jettisoning of her cargo of 200 tons of salmon, 800 cases 
of butter, and 4,000 cases of sardines, which was done at his 
command under threat of sinking his victim. 

The week of July 15, 1915, was unique in that not one British 
vessel was made the victim of a German submarine during that 
period, though two Russian vessels had been sunk. Figures com- 
piled by the British admiralty and issued on the 22d of July, 
1915, gave out the following information concerning the attacks 
on merchantmen by German submarines since the German ad- 
miralty's proclamation of a "war zone" around Great Britain 
went into effect on the 18th of February, 1915. 

The official figures were as follows : 

Week ending Vessels lost Lives lost 

Feb. 25, 1915 11 9 

March 4, " 1 None 

March 11, " 7 • 38 

March 18, " 6 13 

March 25, " 7 2 

April 1, " 13 165 

April 8, ** 8 13 

April 15, " 4 None 

April 22, " 3 10 

April 29, " 3 None 

May 6, " 24 5 

May 13, " 2 1,260 

May 20, " 7 13 

May 27, " 7 7 

June 3, " 36 21 



Week ending 

June 10, 1915 

June 17, 

June 24, 
July 1, 
July 8, 

July 15, 

July 22, 


Vessels lost 

Lives lost 





















The first year of the Great War came to an end with the Ger- 
man submarines as active in the "war zone" as they had been 
during any part of it. On the 28th of July, 1915, the anniversary 
of the commencement of the war, there was reported the sink- 
ing of nine vessels. These were the Swedish steamer Emma, the 
three Danish schooners Maria, NeptunU, and Lena, the British 
steamer Mangara, the trawlers lemii and Salaoia, the Westward 
Ho, and the Swedish bark Sagnadalen. No lives were lost with 
any of these vessels. 

The first year of the war closed with a cloud gathered over 
the heads of the members of the German admiralty raised by the 
irritation the submarine attacks in the "war zone" had caused. 
Germany's enemies protested against the illegality of these at- 
tacks; neutral nations protested because they held that their 
rights had been overridden. But the German press showed the 
feeling of the German public on the matter — at the end of July, 
1915, it was as anxious as ever to have the attacks continued. 
Conflicting claims were issued in Germany and England. In thi 
former country it was claimed that the attacks had seriously 
damaged commerce ; in the latter it was claimed that the damaj 
was of little account. 




TN the beginning of 1915 comparative calm reigned over the 
•*• Austro-Russian theatre of war, so far as actual hostilities were 
concerned. But it was not altogether the variable climatic con- 
ditions of alternate frost and thaw — ^the latter converting road 
and valley into impassable quagmires — ^that caused the lull. It 
was a short winter pause during which the opposing forces — on 
one side at least — ^were preparing and gathering the requisite 
momentum for the coming storm. 

During January, 1915, the Russian armies were in a decidedly 
favorable position. In their own invaded territory of Poland, as 
we have seen, they held an advanced position in front of the 
Vistula, which circumstance enabled them to utilize that river 
as a line of communication, while barring the way to Warsaw 
against Von Hindenburg. Lemberg, the capital of Galicia, 
which they had captured in September, 1914, was still in their 
hands. Sixty miles away to the west there lay the great fortress 
of Przemysl, invested by the Russians under General Selivanoff, 
and completely cut off from the outer world since November 12, 
1914. At least 150,000 troops and enormous quantities of stores 
and munitions were locked up in the town and outlying forts, 
together with a population of 50,000 inhabitants, mostly Polish. 
In addition to these material advantages, the Russians held all the 
Carpathian passes leading from GaHcia into the vast plains of 



Hungary, and a strong advanced position on the Dunajec in the 
west, which, besides threatening Cracow, the capital of Austrian 
Poland, served also as a screen to the mountain operations. 
Finally, to the far east of the range, they had occupied nearly the 
whole of the Bukowina right up to the Rumanian frontier. 

Such, briefly, was the situation on the Austro-Russian front 
when the second winter campaign opened. For Austria the 
situation was extremely critical. Her armies, broken and scat- 
tered after a series of disastrous reverses, could scarcely hop© by 
their own efforts to stem the threatened invasion of Hungary. 
General Brussilov, however, made no serious attempt to pour 
his troops through the passes into the plain below ; although what 
was probably a reconnaissance emerged from the Uzsok Pass 
and penetrated as far as Munkacs, some thirty miles south, while 
on several occasions small bands of Cossacks descended from the 
Dukla and Delatjoi (Jablonitza) passes to raid Hungarian vil- 
lages. General Brussilov evidently regarded it inadvisable to 
risk an invasion of the plain, especially as he did not hold con- 
trol of the southern exits from the passes, beyond which he would 
be exposed to attack from all sides and liable to encounter 
superior forces. The main Austrian anxiety for the moment was 
the precarious position of Przemysl, to relieve which it was first 
essential to dislodge Brussilov or to pierce his line. Again, in 
the hour of her extremity, Austria's powerful ally came to the 

Under the command of the Archduke Eugene the Austrian 
troops — all that were available — were formed into three 
separate armies. For convenience sake we will designate them 
A, B, and C. Army A, under General Boehm-Ermolli, was 
ordered to the section from the Dukla Pass to the Uzsog. It was 
charged with the task of cutting a way through to relieve 
Przemysl. Army B, under the German General von Linsingen, 
who also had some German troops with him, was to assail the 
next section eastward, from the Uzsog to the Wyszkow Pass ; and 
Army C, under the Austrian General von Pflanzer-Baltin, like- 
wise suppHed with a good "stiffening" of German soldiers, was 
accredited to the far-eastern section — ^the Pruth Valley and th« 




Bukowina. These three armies represented the fighting ma- 
chine with which Austria hoped to retrieve the misfortunes of 
war and recover at the same time her military prestige and her 
invaded territories. We have no reliable information to enable 
us to estimate the exact strength of these armies, but there is 
every reason to believe that it was considerable, having regard 
to the urgency of the situation and the bitter experience of the 
recent past. Hence the figure of 400,000 men is probably approxi- 
mately correct. Somewhere about January 23, 1914, after a 
period of thaw and mud the weather settled down to snow and 
hard frost. Then the machine began to move. A snow-clad 
mountain rampart lay spread before; over 200 miles of its 
length embraced the area of the projected operations. Here we 
may leave this army for a while in order to review some of the 
political and strategic considerations underlying the campaign, 
which is the scope of this chapter. 

The Russian occupation of the Bukowina, which was under- 
taken and accomplished by a force far too small to oppose any 
serious resistance, appears to have been carried out with the 
definite political object of favorably impressing Rumania, and 
to guide her into the arms of the Allies. From her geographical 
position Rumania commands nearly the whole western frontier 
of the Dual Monarchy. Her fertile soil supplied the Central 
Powers with grain, dairy produce, and oil. Furthermore, Ru- 
mania's foreign policy leaned to the side of Italy, and the general 
European impression was, after the death of King Carol, October 
10, 1914, that if one of the two countries entered the war, the 
other would follow suit. As subsequent events have shown, 
however, that expectation was not realized. Rumania, too, had 
aspirations in the direction of recovering lost territories, but her 
grievance in this respect was equally divided between Russia and 
Austria, for, while the one had despoiled her of Bessarabia, the 
other had annexed Transylvania (Siebenburgen). Hence the 
Russian tentative conquest and occupation of the Bukowina 
paved the way for Rumania, should she decide on intervention. 
The road was clear for her to step in and occupy the Bukowina 
(which Russia was prepared to hand over), and probably 



Transylvania as well, which latter the proximity of a Russian 
force might — at the time — ^have enabled her to do. But the bait 
failed, no doubt for weighty reasons. Even if Rumania had 
favored the Triple Entente, which there is strong ground to 
presume she would, by entering the war, haye found herself in 
as perilous a position as Serbia, with her Black Sea littoral ex- 
posed to hostile Turkey and her whole southern boundary 
flanked by a neighbor — Bulgaria — whose intentions were as yet 
unknown. However, on January 27, 1915, the Bank of England 
arranged a $25,000,000 loan to Rumania — an event which further 
heightened the probability of her entry into the arena. 

We may safely take it for granted that these considerations 
were not overlooked by the German staff, in addition to the 
patent fact that the Russians were persistently gaining ground 
against the Austrians. German officers and men were therefore 
rushed from the eastern and western fronts to the south of the 
Carpathians to form the three armies we have labeled A, B,and C. 
The points of attack for which they were intended have already 
been stated ; but the roundabout manner in which they traveled 
to their respective sections is both interesting and worthy of 
notice. At this stage a new spirit seemed to dominate Austro- 
Hungarian military affairs ; we suddenly encounter greater pre- 
cision, sounder strategy, and deeper plans: a master mind ap- 
pears to have taken matters in hand. It is the cool, calculating, 
mathematical composite brain of the German General Staff. As 
the formation and dispatching of three great armies can hardly 
be kept a secret, especially where hawk-eyed spies abound, a 
really astute piece of stage management was resorted to. Wild 
rumors were set afloat to the effect that the Austrian Government 
had decided to undertake a great offensive — for the third time — 
against Serbia, and erase her from the map, with the assist- 
ance of four German army corps. The concentration one for 
operations against either Serbia or the Russian front in the 
arpathians was naturally in the central plains of Hungary, 
ut to cover the real object of Austro-German concentration 
ctive demonstrations were made on the Serb border in the form 
of bombardments of Belgrade, and occupation of Danube islands. 

16— War St. 3 


These demonstrations made plausible the Teutonic assertion that 
the concentration of troops was being carried out with a 
view to an invasion of Serbia. So successful was the ruse, and 
so well had the secret been kept that on February 1, 1914, a 
Petrograd "official" gravely announced to an eagerly listening 
world: "The statement is confirmed that the new Austro-Ger- 
man southern army, intended for the third invasion of Serbia^ 
consists of six Austrian and two German corps or 400,000 men, 
under the command of the Archduke Eugene (!)*' At the very 
time this appeared the new Austro-German "southern*' army had 
been already, for quite a week, making its presence severely 
felt in the eastern and central sections of the Carpathians, and 
still the Russian authorities had not recognized the identity of 
the forces operating there. 

A brief description of the battle ground will enable the reader 
to follow more easily the course of the struggle. Imagine that 
length of the Carpathian chain which forms the boundary be- 
tween Galicia and Hungary as a huge, elongated arch of, 
roughly, 300 miles. (The whole of the range stretches as a con- 
tinuous rampart for a distance of 900 miles, completely shutting 
in Hungary from the northwest to the east and south, separating 
it from Moravia [Mahren], Galicia, the Bukowina, and Ru- 
mania.) Through the curve of this arch run a number of passes. 
Beginning as far west as is here necessary, the names of the 
chief passes eastward leading from Hungary are : into Galicia — 
Beskid, Tarnow, Tilicz, Dukla, Lupkow, Rostoki, Uzsok, Vereczke 
(or Tucholka), Beskid* (or Volocz), Wyszkow, Jablonitza (or 
Delatyn) ; into the Bukowina — Strol, Kirlibaba, Rodna ; into 
Rumania — Borgo. In parts the range is 100 miles in width, and 
from under 2,000 to 8,000 feet high. The western and central 
Carpathians are much more accessible than the eastern, and 
therefore comprise the main and easiest routes across. The 
Hun and Tartar invasions flooded Europe centuries ago by this 
way, and the Delatyn is still called the "Magyar route." The 
passes vary in height from under a thousand to over four thou- 
sand feet. The Dukla and Uzsok passes were to be the main ob- 

* There are two passes named Beskid. 


jective, as through them lay the straightest roads to Lemberg 
and Przemysl. The former is crossed by railway from Tokay 
to Przemysl, and the latter by rail and road from Ungvar to 
Sambor. A railroad also runs through the Vereczke from 
Munkacs to Lemberg, and another through Delatjoi from De- 
breczen to Kolomea. So far as concerned means of communica- 
tion, matters were nearly equal, but geographical advantage lay 
with the Russians, as the way from Galicia to Hungary is by far 
an easier one than vice versa. 



BEFORE proceeding with the opening of the second winter 
campaign in the Carpathians, the reader should remember 
that, as stated in the beginning of this narrative, a Russian army 
under General Radko Dmitrieff (a Bulgarian), held an advanced 
position on the Dunajec-Biala line, extending from the Vistula to 
Zmigrod, northwest of Dukla. This force was consequently be- 
yond the zone of the Austro-German offensive, but, as events 
proved, it had not been overlooked, for it was here that the 
heaviest blow was finally to fall. It is also important to bear in 
j^^nind that the Russian armies occupying Galicia and the northern 
^^Hlopes of the Carpathians were not conducting an isolated cam- 
^^Kaign on their own account ; they formed an integral part of the 
^^■ar-fiung battle line that reached from the shores of the Baltic 
I^Baown to the Rumanian frontier, a distance of nearly 800 miles. 
Dmitrieff 's force represented a medial link of the chain — and the 

Over the slushy roads of the valleys and into the snow-laden 
passes the Germanic armies advanced, each of the widely de- 
ployed columns with a definite objective: From Dukla, Lupkow, 
and Rostoki to relieve Przefnysl ; from Uzsok through the valley 
of the Upper San to Sambor; through Beskid and Vereczke 


northward to Stryj, thence westward also to Sambor; over 
Wyszkow to Dolina; via Jablonitza to Delatyn; and across 
Kirlibaba and Doma Vatra into the Bukowina. Opposed to them 
were the Russian Generals Brussilov, Ivanoff, and Alexieff, 

Correspondents with the Teutonic troops in these weeks wrote 
in wonderment of the scenes of the slowly forward toiling 
advance into the mountains which they had seen. On every 
road leading into Galicia there was the same picture of a flood 
rolling steadily on. Everywhere could be seen the German and 
Austro-Hungarian troops on the move, men going into the 
firing line to fight for days, day after day, with the shed- 
ding of much blood, among the peaks and valleys, under chang- 
ing skies. 

Here is a word picture of the supply columns winding upward 
into the Carpathians to the support of the Teutonic troops 
furnished by a German correspondent : 

"Truly fantastic is the appearance of one of these modern 
supply caravans, stretching in zigzag, with numerous sharp 
corners and turns, upward to the heights of the passes and down 
on the opposite side. Here we see in stages, one above the other 
and moving in opposite directions, the queerest mixture of men, 
vehicles, machines and animals, all subordinated to a common 
military purpose and organization by military leadership, mov- 
ing continually and regularly along. The drivers have been 
drummed up from all parts of the monarchy, Serbs, Ruthenians, 
Poles, Croats, Rumanians, Hungarians, Slovaks, Austrians, 
and turbaned Mohammedans from Bosnia. Everyone is shouting 
to his animals and cursing in his own language. The whole 
mix-up is a traveling exhibition of most variegated characteris- 
tic costumes, for the most part, of course, extremely the worse 
for wear. Common to all these are the little wagons adapted to 
mountain travel, elastic and tough, which carry only half loads 
and are drawn by little ponylike, ambitious horses. In between 
are great German draft horses, stamping along with their 
broad high-wheeled baggage and ammunition wagons, as 
though they belonged to a nation of giants. 


**Gravely, with a kind of sullen dignity, slow-stepping steers 
drag at their yokes heavily laden sledges. They are a powerful 
white breed, with broad-spreading horns a yard long. These 
are followed in endless rows by carefully stepping pack animals, 
small and large horses, mules and donkeys. On the wooden pack- 
saddles on their backs are the carefully weighed bales of hay or 
ammunition boxes or other war materials. Walking gingerly 
by the edges of the mountain ridges they avoid pitfalls and 
rocks and walk round the stiff, distended bodies of their com- 
rades that have broken down on the way. At times there ambles 
along a long row of working animals a colt, curious and rest- 
lessly sniffing. In the midst of this movement of the legs of 
animals, of waving arms, of creaking and swaying loaded 
vehicles of manifold origin, there climbs upward the weighty 
iron of an Austrian motor battery, with an almost incomprehen- 
sible inevitableness, flattening out the broken roads like a steam 

"From the first pass the baggage train sinks down into the 
depths, again to climb upward on the next ridge, to continue 
striving upward ever toward higher passages, slowly pushing 
forward toward its objective against the resistance of number- 
less obstacles. 

"The road to the battle field of to-day crosses the battle field of 
recent weeks and months. Here there once stood a village, but 
only the stone foundations of the hearths are left as traces of 
the houses that have been burned down. Sometimes falling 
shots or the terrors of a brief battle in the streets have reduced 
to ruins only a part of a village. The roofs of houses have been 
patched with canvas and boards to some extent, and now serve 
as quarters for troops or as stables. In the narrow valleys the 
level places by the sides of streams have been utilized for en- 
campments. Here stand in order wagons of a resting column 
and the goulash cannons shedding their fragrance far and wide, 
or the tireless ovens of a field bakery. Frequently barracks, 
hospital buildings, and shelters for men and animals have been 
built into the mountain sides. Here and there simple huts have 
been erected, made of a few poles and fir twigs. Often they 


are placed in long rows, which, when their inmates are warming 
themselves by the fire at night turn the dark mountain road 
into a romantic night encampment, and everywhere fresh crosses, 
ornamented at times in a manner suggestive of the work of 
children, remind us of our brothers now forever silenced, who, 
but a short time before went the same road, withstood just such 
weather and such hardships, talked perhaps in these same huts 
of the war, and dreamt of peace. 

"The saddest spectacle, however, were the lightly wounded, 
poor fellows, who might under ordinary conditions have readily 
walked the distance from the first aid station to the central 
gathering point, but who here on account of the ice or muddy 
roads require double and three times the usual time." 



OWING to the topographical conditions under which fighting 
must be carried on in the central Carpathians, some weeks 
might be expected to elapse before a general engagement devel- 
oped along the entire front. Lateral communication or coopera- 
tion between the advancing columns was out of the question ; the 
passes were like so many parallel tunnels, each of which must 
first be negotiated before a reunion can take place at the northern 

We will follow the achievements of the three groups in separate 
order. Army A, under Boehm-Ermolli, crossed Uzsok and 
Rostoki, and forced part of the Russian line back upon Baligrod, 
but Brussilov held it fast on Dukla and Lupkow, strongly sup- 
ported by Dmitrieff on his right. Here the attack failed with 
severe losses; the Germanic forces were thrown back into Hun- 
gary, and the Russians commanded the southern ends of the 
passes around Dukla. The Uzsok Pass was of small strategical 


value to the Austrians now that they had it. It is extremely 
vulnerable at every point; steep, narrow, and winding roads 
traverse its course nearly 3,000 feet high, with thickly wooded 
mountains up to 4,500 feet overlooking the scene from a close 
circle. Regarded merely as a short cut to Przemysl and Lem- 
berg, the Uzsok was a useful possession provided always that 
the northern debouchment could be cleared and an exit forced. 
But the Russians held these debouchments with a firm grip, and 
the pass was consequently of no use to the Austrians. About 
February 7, 1915, the Russians attempted to outflank the Aus- 
trian position in the Lupkow Pass from the eastern branch of 
the Dukla by pushing forward in the direction of Mezo-Laborc 
on the Hungarian side. The movement partially succeeded ; they 
took over 10,000 prisoners, but failed to dislodge the Austrians 
from the heights east of the pass. Severe fighting raged round 
this district for over a month, the Russians finally capturing 
Lupkow, as well as Smolnik at the southern exit of Rostoki. Had 
the Russians succeeded in getting between Uzsok and the Aus- 
trian line of communication, as was undoubtedly their aim, the 
Austrians would have been compelled to relinquish the pass with- 
out even a fight. However, General Boehm-Ermolli's mission 
proved a failure. 

Army B, under Von Linsingen, succeeded in traversing all the 
passes in its appointed section. Crossing by the railway pass 
of Beskid and the two roads leading through Vereczke and 
Wyszkow, they pushed forward in the direction of Stryj and 
Lemberg, but never reached their destination. Barely through 
the passes, the Germans struck upon Lysa Gora, over 3,300 feet 
high. This mountain range is barren of all vegetation — no shel- 
tering trees or shrubs adorn its slopes. The route of the Germans 
crossed Lysa Gora south and in front of the ridge of Koziowa, 
where the Russian lines, under General Ivanoff, lay in waiting. 
Passing down the bald slopes of Lysa Gora toward the valley of 
the Orava River, the advancing German columns presented a 
conspicuous target for the Russians on the opposite slopes of 
Koziowa, screened by thick forests. Here one of the most des- 
perate battles of the campaign ensued on February 6, 1915, be- 


tween Von Linsingen's Austro-German army and Brussilov's 
center. ^ 

In close formation an^ with well-drilled precision the Germans 
attempted to storm the position at the point of the bayonet. 
Again and again they returned to the charge, only to be repulsed 
with severe losses. As many as twenty-two furious bayonet 
charges were made in one day, February 7. Wherever a footing 
was gained in the Russian lines, there a few minutes ferocious 
hand-to-hand melee developed — Saxon and Slav at death grips — 
the intruders were expelled or hacked down. Great masses of 
Austro-German dead and wounded were strewn over the lower 
slopes of Koziowa. For five weeks Von Linsingen hammered at 
the Russian front without being able to break through. So long 
as the Russians held the heights it was impossible for their enemy 
to emerge from the passes. These two, Vereczke and Beskid, so 
close together, may literally be described as twin tunnels. Owing 
to the highland between them, the two columns moving through 
could not cooperate ; if one side needed reenf orcements from the 
other, they had to be taken back over the range into Hungary to 
the junction where the roads diverged. It was sound strategy 
on the Russian side to select Koziowa as the point from which to 
check the Germanic advance. For the time being, with Dukla 
and Lupkow in their hands and the exits of Uzsok and Rostoki 
strongly guarded, the defense of Koziowa held Galicia safe from 
reconquest. The attacks against Koziowa continued beyond the 
middle of March, 1915. On the 16th of that month the Russians 
captured a place called Oravcyk, about four miles westward, 
from where they could threaten the German left, which had the 
effect of keeping Von Linsingen still closer to his mountain pas- 
sages. The fighting in this region represents one of the impor- 
tant phases of the war, for it prevented the relief of Przemysl; 
temporarily saved Stryj and Lemberg for the Russians; en- 
abled them to send reenforcements into the Bukowina, and, 
finally, inspired the German General Staff to plan the great 
and decisive Galician campaign, which was to achieve the 
task wherein Boehm-Ermolli and Von Linsingen had both 


Meanwhile, what had Von Pflanzer-Baltin accomplished 
with Army C — the third column? His path lay through 
Jablonitza, Kirlibaba, and Dorna Vatra ; his task was to clear the 
Russians out of the Bukowina, and either to force them back 
across their own frontiers, or to turn the extreme end of their 
left flank. We have seen that the Russian occupation of the 
Bukowina was more in the nature of a political experiment than 
a serious military undertaking, and that their forces in the 
province were not strong enough to indulge in great strategical 
operations. Hence we may expect the Austrian generaFs prog- 
ress to be less difficult than that of his colleagues in the western 
and central Carpathians. To some extent this presumption is 
correct, for on February 18, 1915, after launching out from the 
southern corner of the Bukowina at Kimpolung and via the Ja- 
blonitza Pass down the Pruth Valley, they captured Czernowitz, 
and after that Kolomea, whence the railway runs to Lemberg. 
Within three days they reached Stanislawow, another important 
railway center, defended by a small Russian force, and a big 
battle ensued. Altogether, the Germanic troops in the Bukowina 
were reported at 50,000 in number, though these were split up 
into two columns, one of which was making but slow progress 
farther east. 

Russian reenforcements were thrown into the town, and the 
struggle for the railway, which lasted a week, appears to have 
been of a seesaw nature, for no official reports of the fighting 
were issued by either side. Still the Austrians pushed westward 
in the hope of reaching the railways which supplied those Rus- 
sian armies which were barring the advance through the central 
passes. The Russians were forced to withdraw from Stanis- 
lawow, and their opponents now held possession of the line run- 
ning to Stryj and Przemysl — a serious menace to the Russian 
main communications. This meant that Von Pflanzer-Baltin had 
succeeded in getting to the rear of the Russians. But assistance 
came unexpectedly from the center, whence Ivanoff was able to 
send reenforcements to his colleague. General Alexeieff, who was 
continually falling back before the Austrians. Furious counter- 
attacks were delivered by the Russians at Halicz and Jezupol, the 





bridgeheads of the southern bank of the Dniester. If the Aus- 
trians could not force a victory at these points, their position in 
Stanislawow would be untenable, since the Russians still had a 
clear road to pour reenforcements into the fighting area between 
the Dniester and the Carpathians. On March 1, 1915, the Aus- 
trians were defeated at Halicz in a pitched battle, and on the 
4th the Russians reentered Stanislawow. According to their 
official communique the Russians captured nearly 19,000 pris- 
oners, 5 guns, 62 machine guns, and a quantity of stores and 
munitions. About March 16 the opposing forces came again into 
touch southeast of Stanislawow on the road to Ottynia, but noth- 
ing of importance appears to have happened. To sum up the 
results of the Germanic offensive, we must remember what the 
objectives were. Of the latter, none was attained. The Russians 
had not been expelled from Galicia ; Przemysl was no nearer to 
relief than before, and Lemberg had not been retaken. With the 
exception of Dukla and Lupkow, all the passes were in Austrian 
hands ; but the Russians dominated the northern debouchments of 
all of them excepting Jablonitza. 



THE town and fortress of Przemysl formally surrendered to 
the Russian General Selivanoff on Monday, March 22, 1915. 
The first investment began at the early stages of the war in 
September, 1914. On the 27th of that month the Russian gen- 
eralissimo announced that all communications had been cut off. 
By October 15, 1914, the Russian investment had been broken 
again, and for a matter of three weeks, while the road was open, 
more troops, provisions, arms, and munitions were rushed to the 
spot. As we have seen, however, the Russians recovered their 
lost advantage, for, after the fall of Jaroslav, the fortress to the 
north of Przemysl, their troops were hurried up from east, north| 


and west, and within a few days the Austrians were sent back 
along the whole front. From the region of Przemysl three rail- 
roads cross the Carpathians to Budapest, along all of which the 
Russians had pushed vigorously, besides advancing on the west. 
As regarded railroad communications, the fate of Przemysl was 
sealed by the capture of Chyrow, an important junction about 
twenty miles south of the fortress. Przemysl itself was impor- 
tant as a road junction and as a connecting link with the Uzsok 
and Lupkow passes. The garrison prepared to make a stubborn 
resistance with the object of checking the Russian pursuit. A 
week later the Russians had broken up their heavy artillery and 
had begun a steady bombardment. By November 12, 1914, 
Przemysl was once more completely besieged by General Seli- 
vanoff with not more than 100,000 troops. 

Przemysl is one of the oldest towns of Galicia, said to have been 
founded in the eighth century. It was once the capital of a large 
independent principality. In the fourteenth century Casimir the 
Great and other Polish princes endowed it with special civic 
privileges, and the town attained a high degree of commercial 
prosperity. In the seventeenth century its importance was de- 
stroyed by inroads of Tatars, Cossacks, and Swedes. Przemysl 
is situated on the River San, and was considered one of the 
strongest fortresses of Europe. 

The original strategic idea embodied in the purpose of the 
fortress was purely defensive; in the event of war with Russia 
only the line of the San and Dniester was intended to be held 
at all costs, while the whole northeastern portion of Galicia was 
to be abandoned. With the fortress of Cracow guarding the 
west, Przemysl was meant to be the first defense between the 
two rivers and to hold the easiest roads to Hungary through the 
Dukla, Lupkow, and Uzsok passes. Within the last ten years, 
however, the Austrian War Staff altered its plans and decided 
upon a vigorous offensive against Russia should occasion offer, 
and that Eastern Galicia was not to be sacrificed. Hence a net- 
work of strategic railways was constructed with a view to at- 
tacking the prospective enemy on a wide front extending from 
the Vistula near Cracow on the west to the Bug on the east, 


where the latter flows into Austrian territory and cuts off a 
comer of eastern Galicia. The plan does not appear to have 
worked successfully, for, before the war was many days old, the 
Russians had taken Lemberg, swept across the Dniester at Halicz, 
across the San at Jaroslav, just north of Przemysl, and had 
already besieged the fortress, which at no time imposed any 
serious obstacle in the path of their progress. Perhaps the only 
useful purpose that Przemysl served was that it restrained the 
Russians from attempting an invasion of Hungary on a big scale, 
by holding out for nearly seven months. Not having sufficient 
siege artillery at their disposal, the Russians made no attempt 
to storm the place. General Selivanoff surrounded the forts 
with a wide circle of counterdefenses, which were so strongly 
fortified that the garrison would have found it an almost hope- 
less task to attempt a rush through the enemy's lines. The 
Austrian artillery was naturally well acquainted with the range 
of every point and position that lay within reach of their guns ; 
and Selivanoff wisely offered them little opportunity for effective 
practice. Considering it too expensive to attack by the overland 
route, he worked his way gradually toward the forts by means 
of underground operations. To sap a position is slow work, 
but much more economical in the expenditure of lives and 
munitions. The weakness of Przemysl lay in the fact that its 
garrison was far too large for its needs, and that provisions 
were running short. In the early part of the campaign the Ger- 
manic armies operating in the San region had drawn freely on 
Przemysl for supplies, and before these could be adequately re- 
placed the Russians had again forged an iron ring around the 
place. The Russian commander, moreover, was aware that a 
coming scarcity threatened the town, and that he had only to 
bide his time to starve it into submission. Whilst he was simply 
waiting and ever strengthening his lines, the Austrians found 
it incumbent on them to assume the offensive. Several desperate 
sorties were made by the garrison to break through the wall, 
only to end in complete disaster. General Herman von Kus- 
manek, the commander in chief of the fortress, organized a 
special force, composed largely of Hungarians, for "sortie duty," 


under the command of a Hungarian, General von Tamassy. 
These sorties had been carried out during November and Decem- 
ber, 1914, especially during the latter month, when the Austro- 
German armies were pouring across the mountains. So critical 
W^as the Russian position at the time that the relief of Przemysl 
was hourly expected. According to an officer of General Seliva- 
noff's staff, "The Austrians in the fortress were already con- 
versing with the Austrians on the Carpathians by means of their 
searchlights. The guns of Przemysl could be heard by the 
Austrian field artillery. The situation was serious, and General 
Selivanoff took prompt measures. He brought up fresh troops 
to the point of danger and drove the sortie detachments back to 
the fortress." It is stated from the Austrian side that one of 
the sortie detachments had succeeded in breaking through the 
Russian lines and marching to a point fifteen miles beyond the 
outer lines of the forts. A Russian official announcement states 
that during two months of the siege the Austrian captures 
amounted only to 4 machine guns and about 60 prisoners, which 
occurred in an engagement where two Honved regiments fell on 
a Russian company which had advanced too far to be reenforced 
in time. On their part in repulsing sorties by the garrison, fre- 
quently made by considerable forces, the Russians made 
prisoners 27 officers and 1,906 soldiers, and captured 7 ma- 
chine guns, 1,500,000 cartridges, and a large quantity of 
arms. In two sorties the garrison in the region of Bircza 
had more than 2,000 killed and wounded, among them being 
many officers. No further sorties were undertaken in that 
particular region. During January and February, 1915, very 
little fighting took place around Przemysl; sorties were useless 
as there was no Austro-German force anywhere near the fortress, 
and the Russians were tightening the pressure around it. The 
only means of communication with the outer world was by aero- 
plane, so that, despite the rigid investment, the Austro-German 
war staff were kept fully informed of the straits in which 
Przemysl found itself. General Boehm-Ermolli, with Army A, 
was making desperate efforts to extricate himself from the 
Russian grip round Uzsok, Lupkow, and Dukla; he did not 


get beyond Baligrod, as the crow flies, thirty miles south of 

On March 13, 1915, the Russians stormed and captured the vil- 
lage of Malkovise, on the northeast, breaking through the outer 
line of the defense. From this position they began to bombard 
parts of the inner ring. About the beginning of the third week in 
March, 1915, a new spirit of activity appeared to seize the 
beleaguered garrison: they commenced a terrific cannonade 
which, however, elicited no response. It was but the energy of 
despair : they were firing to get rid of their ammunition, hoping 
at the same time to hit something or somebody. The end was 
at hand. 

On March 18, 1915, a Petrograd "official" laconically reports 
that : "In the Przemysl sector the fortress guns continue to fire 
more than a thousand heavy projectiles daily, but our troops 
besieging the fortress lose only about ten men every day." It 
is also on March 18 that General von Kusmanek issued the fol- 
lowing manifesto to the defenders of Przemysl: — "Heroes, I 
announce to you my last summons. The honor of our country 
and our army demands it. I shall lead you to pierce with your 
points of steel the iron circles of the enemy, and then march 
ever farther onward, sparing no efforts, until we rejoin our 
army, which, after heavy fighting, is now near us." 

Just before the surrender two Austrian officers escaped from 
the fortress in an aeroplane. These reported concerning the 
last days of the siege : 

"On the 18th of March the last provisions had been dealt out 
and at the same time the last attempt at breaking through the 
line of the besiegers had been ordered. This was carried out 
on the night of the 19th of March. It was shattered, however, 
against the unbreakable manifold ring of the Russian inclosing 
lines and against the superior forces which were brought in 
time to the threatened points. Our men were so weakened by 
their long fasting that it took them fully seven hours to make 
the march of seven kilometers, and even in this short stretch 
many of them had to lie down from exhaustion, yet they fought 
well and were bravely led by their offi/cers. 


"In spite of all this," Captain Lehmann, one of the escaped 
officers, reported, "the heroic garrison fought on, after their last 
sortie, for fully forty-eight hours, against assaults of the Rus- 
sians which now set in with terrific violence. The men of the 
fortress were fully informed of the situation by an announce- 
ment of the commander. They knew that the provisions were 
at an end and this very knowledge spurred them on to make 
their last sacrifice. Practically all the nations of the monarchy 
were represented in the fortress. Tyrolese Landsturm held the 
south, Hungarians the west, Ruthenians and Poles the north, and 
lower Austrians the east. To this last battle the troops marched 
out singing, striving thus to master their weakness. On this, 
occasion the above mentioned notice had fallen into the hands 
of the Russians and the prospect had thus been opened to them 
to seize the fortress with little effort. For two days and nights 
all the works of Przemysl were taken under an uninterrupted 
terrible artillery fire, including that of modern howitzers of all 
calibers, up to eighteen centimeters. Then followed an assault 
at night on the east front, which, however, was again bloodily 

Starvation is conducive neither to good feeling nor heroism, 
especially when it is superimposed upon an unbroken series of 
more or less disastrous experiences. Misfortune and the so- 
called "tradition of defeat" had dogged the steps of Austria's 
troops from the beginning of the war; unlucky generals — 
Dankl, Auffenberg, and others — ^had been relieved of their com- 
mands and replaced by "new blood" — Boehm-Ermolli, Boro- 
yevitch von Bojna, and Von Pflanzer-Baltin. Of these three, 
two had as yet failed in carrying to success the German plans 
which had taken the place of those of their own strategists. 
Hence it is not at all improbable that the reports of dissensions 
among the garrison, which leaked out at the time, were sub- 
stantially accurate. That jealousies broke out among the numer- 
ous races forming the Austrian Army — especially between the 
Slavonic and Germanic elements — is supported by strong 
evidence. The sentiments of the Slav subjects of Austria leaned 
more toward Russia than the empire of which they formed 


a considerable portion, while there was never any love lost 
between them and the Magyars. However that may be, the 
Slav regiments were reported to have refused obedience to the 
general's order for the last sortie, which was eventually under- 
taken by a force composed of the Twenty-third Hungarian Honved 
Division, a regiment of Hussars, and a Landwehr brigade, alto- 
gether about 30,000 men. Everything depended upon the 
venture, for not only were all their food supplies used up, but 
they had already eaten most of their horses. Instead, therefore, 
of making southward to where their comrades were fighting 
hard to tear themselves away from the Carpathian passes, the 
sortie turned toward the east, in the direction of Mosciska, 
twenty miles off, which was supposed to be the Russian supply 
base. This attempted foraging expedition — for it was nothing 
else — can only be defended on the broad general principle that 
it is better to do something than nothing as a last resort. Sup- 
plies were essential before any more could be undertaken to cut 
a passage through the strong double set of Russian lines that 
lay between the Carpathians and Przemysl ; but that these sup- 
plies were stored at Mosciska was a pure speculation. Further, 
considering that the whole country was in their opponents* hands, 
a strength of 30,000 men was insufficient to attempt so hazard- 
ous an adventure. Even if they succeeded in breaking through, 
their return to the fortress was not assured. In that case, if 
they could not get back, they would have to go forward : east- 
ward lay Lemberg, held by the Russians; northward was the 
Russian frontier, and southward stood the Russian forces hold- 
ing the passes. Thus, in any case, however successful the 
expedition might prove, it meant breaking at least twice through 

les which the enemy had spent months in strengthening or 
fortifying. Undeterred by the almost certain possibility of 

lilure, the expedition of the "forlorn hope" set out across the 
>lain of the San — and speedily came to grief. They had to pass 
the strongest Russian artillery position, which was stationed 
the low hollow through which the railway runs to Lemberg. 

[ere a terrific hail of shells burst over their heads ; rattle of ma- 

dne guns and rifle fire tore great holes in their ranks; the 

17_War St. 3 


stoutest courage and bravest hearts were unavailing against 
an enemy who could not be reached nor even seen. The number 
of killed and wounded in that fatal sortie has not been made 
public ; that it was an enormous figure is certain. The Russians 
took 4,000 prisoners of those who survived the ordeal, and cap- 
tured the forts on the western side directly after the struggling 
remnants had regained their starting place. Generalvon Kus- 
manek issued his manifesto in the morning, and by the same 
night the sortie ended in disaster. Like the misdirected charge 
of the Light Brigade at Balaclava in 1854, it was ^'brilliant, but 
it wasn't war." 

One more attempt was made on Saturday, March 20, 1915, 
toward Oikovice, but it was easily frustrated by the vigilant 
Russians. On Sunday and Monday, the 21st and 22d of March, 
a number of explosions were heard in and around Przemysl. 
The Austrians were destroying ever3rthing possible previous to 
surrendering. Large quantities of explosives were thrown in 
the river ; all kinds of arms were destroyed or rendered useless ; 
three bridges were crippled; the few remaining horses were 
shot, and a railway bridge over the Wiar, which possessed no 
strategic value, was also destroyed. These tactics of destroying 
approaches naturally isolated the town more than ever, and 
made it exceedingly difficult afterward to convey food supplies 
to the starving population. 

On Monday morning, March 22, 1915, the Austrian chief of 
staff appeared outside the lines of Przemysl under a flag of 
truce. He was blindfolded, driven by automobile to Russian 
headquarters, and ushered into the presence of General Seliva- 
noff. When the bandage had been removed from his eyes, the 
Austrian officer handed over a letter of capitulation from 
General von Kusmanek, which ran as follows : 

"In consequence of the exhaustion of provisions and stores, 
and in compliance with instructions received from my supreme 
chief, I am compelled to surrender the Imperial and Royal 
Fortress of Przemysl to the Imperial Russian Army." 

The Russians took charge without any triumphal display. 
Some officers were sent to receive the surrender and take stock 


df ttie spoils. General von Kusmanek himself supplied the in- 
ventory, in which were listed 9 generals, 93 superior officers, 
2,500 "Offlziere und Beamten" (subalterns and officials), and 
117,000 rank and file, besides 1,000 pieces of ordnance, mostly 
useless, and a large quantity of shells and rifle cartridges. 

Greneral Artamoff was appointed military governor and to 
superintend the process of dispatching the prisoners into Rus- 
sian territory, which was carried out at the rate of 10,000 a day. 
Extensive arrangements were set on foot to supply the inhab- 
itants with food, drink, and other necessaries of life. As the 
RufMsians had not bombarded the town, its natural and artificial 
beauties had suffered no damage beyond that which the Aus- 
trians had themselves inflicted ; only the outskirts and the forti- 
fications had been injured by fire and explosion. 

Thus fell, on March 22, 1915, Przemysl, "by its own momen- 
tum like an overripe fruit," and with a garrison twice as large 
as would have been adequate to defend it. To Austria the blow 
was a severe one, for it cost her about four army corps ; the im- 
mediate advantage it brought to the Russians was the release 
of Selivanoff's army of 100,000 men, who were urgently re- 
quired elsewhere. It was only a week earlier that the com- 
mander in chief of all the Austro-Hungarian armies, the 
Archduke Frederick, had granted an interview to an American 
journalist (Dr. J. T. Roche), in the course of which he stated: 
"We have only recently reached the point where we are really 
prepared ,to carry on a campaign as it should be carried under 
modem conditions of warfare. Now that our organization has 
been completed and all branches of the service are working 
harmoniously, we entertain no doubts as to our ability to hold 
the enemy at all points and to drive him back from that section 
of Galicia which is still in his possession." 




THREE days before the fall of Przemysl the Russians aban» 
ddned the defensive and commenced a vigorous attack on 
the Carpathian front. Active preparations for the advance had 
been completed when the capitulation of the fortress was to be 
expected any hour. Having so far held the Germanic armies 
in check, it was necessary for the Russians to regain complete 
control of the Carpathians and the passes before the snow should 
begin to melt, especially if they decided on an invasion of 
Hungary. On the other hand, before any offensive could be 
undertaken against the Germans in Poland, or the Austrians 
at Cracow, it was imperative to secure the southern flank in 
Galicia. They had by this time partially grasped one particular 
feature of German strategy, namely, to parry a blow from one 
direction by striking in another. A further consideration may 
have been the absolute certainty that Germany would dispatch 
more reenforcements to the aid of her ally. Selivanoff 's siege 
army was distributed between Dmitrieff, Brussilov, and Ivanoff, 
but they could not be employed to full advantage owing to the 
restricted area presented by the Germanic front. Being largely 
composed of siege artillery as well as cavalry, a considerable 
portion of Selivanoff's army was unsuited for mountain warfare. 
Cavalry were converted into infantry, but could not be supplied 
with the necessary equipment ; they had no bayonets, and most 
of the fighting was hand-to-hand. 

Great masses of Germanic reserves were concentrating in 
northern Hungary, into which the Russians had driven a thin 
wedge south of Dukla, where they held an isolated outpost 
near Bartfeld. To leave this position undeveloped meant com- 
pulsory withdrawal or disaster. With the continual influx of 
reenforcements on both sides, the struggle for the main passes 
gradually develops into an ever-expanding and unbroken battle 


front: all the gaps are being filled up. From Dukla westward 
to the Dunajec-Biala line and the Carpathian foothills a new 
link is formed by the Fourth Austrian Army, commanded by 
the Archduke Joseph Ferdinand, with two and a half army 
corps and one German division. In the Central Carpathians 
a fifth army, under the command of the Austrian General von 
Bojna, appears between the forces of Boehm-Ermolli and those 
of Von Linsingen. Right away eastward the purely Aus- 
trian army of Von Pflanzer-Baltin was holding the Pruth Val- 
ley. The Germanic chain was complete, with every link welded 

When the Russian offensive opened on March 19, 1915, the 
entire battle line still rested on the northern side of the Car- 
pathians, and here the struggle was resumed. The Russian 
grand attack was directed between the Lupkow and Uzsok passes, 
where great forces of the enemy, concentrated for the purpose of 
relieving Przemysl, were stationed. In the western sector, fac- 
ing Dmitrieff, the Archduke Joseph Ferdinand held the roads 
leading from Novy-Sacz and Grybow to Tamow, covering Cra- 
cow ; and from south of the range the two roads diverging from 
Zboro to Gorlice and Jaslo were in Russian possession, though the 
Austrians held their junction at Zboro, eight miles north of 
Bartfeld. Of the actual fighting that took place in this region 
very few details were published by the Russian official com- 
munique. One of these documents, dated April 18, 1915, an- 
nounced that on March 23, "our troops had already begun their 
principal attack in the direction of Baligrod, enveloping the 
enemy positions from the west of the Lupkow Pass and on the 
east near the sources of the San. The enemy opposed the most 
desperate resistance to the offensive of our troops. They had 
brought up every available man on the front from the direction 
of Bartfeld as far as the Uzsok Pass, including even German 
troops and numerous cavalrymen fighting on foot. The effectives 
on this front exceeded 300 battaHons. Moreover, our troops had 
to overcome great natural difficulties at every step. In the course 
of the day, March 23, 1915, we captured more than 4,000 pris- 
oners, a gun, and several dozen machine guns." 


On March 24, 1915, the battle was in full progress: "Especially 
severe is the fighting for the crest of the mountain south of 
Jasliska and to the west of the Lupkow Pass. The forests which 
cover these mountains offer special facilities for the construction 
of strong fortifications." March 25 : "The woods in the Lupkow 
region are a perfect entanglement of barbed wire . . . surrounded 
by several layers of trenches, strengthened by deep ditches and 
palisades. On this day our troops carried by assault a very im- 
portant Austrian position on the great crest of the Beskid 
Mountains." The Russian captures for the day amounted to 100 
officers, 5,600 men, and a number of machine guns. Advancing 
from Jasliska the Russians seriously threatened the Austro- 
German position in the Laborcza Valley, to which strong reen- 
forcements were sent on March 25. With terrific violence 
the battle raged till far into the night of the 27th, the Russians 
forcing their way to within seven miles of the Hungarian 

In eight days they had taken nearly 10,000 prisoners. By the 
night of March 28, 1915, the entire line of sixty miles from 
Dukla to Uzsok was ablaze — ^the storm was spreading eastward. 
Like huge ant hills the mountains swarmed with gray and bluish 
specks — each a human being — some to the waist in snow, stab- 
bing and hacking at each other ferociously with bayonet, sword, 
or lance, others pouring deadly fire from rifle, revolver, machine 
gun, and heavy artillery. Over rocks slippery with blood, through 
cruel barbed-wire entanglements and into crowded trenches the 
human masses dash and scramble. Here, with heavy toll, they 
advanced; there, and with costlier sacrifice, they were driven 
back. Fiery Magyars, mechanical Teutons and stohd muzhiks 
mixed together in an indescribable hellbroth of combative fury 
and destructive passion. Screaming shells and spattered shrap- 
nel rent the rocks and tore men in pieces by the thousand. Round 
the Lupkow Pass the Russians steadily carved their way for- 
ward, and at the close of the day, March 29, 1915, they had 
taken 76 officers, 5,384 men, 1 trench mortar, and 21 machine 
guns. Along the Baligrod-Cisna road the fighting proceeded, up 
to March 30, by day and night. 


Gradually the Russians pushed toward Dvemik and Ustrzyki 
south of Lutoviska, threatening the Austrian position in the 
Uzsok and lines of communications to the south. German re- 
serves were hurried up from the base at Ungvar, but could not 
prevent the capture of 80 Austrian officers, over 5,000 men, 14 
machine guns, and 4 pieces of cannon. Ivanoff had been careful 
to hold his portion of Selivanoff' s army in reserve ; their presence 
turned the scale. 

On the day and night of March 31, 1915, the Russians stormed 
and carried the Austrian positions 4,000 feet high up on the 
Poloniny range during a heavy snowstorm. So deep was the 
snow in places that movement was impossible ; the trampling of 
the charging battalions rushing down over the slopes dislodged 
avalanches of snow, overwhelming both attackers and defenders. 
By April 1, 1915, the Russians approached Volosate, only twelve 
miles from the rear of the Uzsok Pass, from which they were now 
separated by a low ridge. Holding full possession of the Poloniny 
range farther west, they commanded the road from Dvemik to 
Vetllna. From the north other Russian columns captured 
Michova on the Smolnik-Cisna railroad, crossed the Carpathians, 
and penetrated into the Virava Valley. Occupying the entire loop 
of the Sanok-Homona railway north and south of Lupkow, and 
Mezo-Laborcz toward Dukla, the Russians now threatened the 
Austrian mountain positions between Lupkow and the Vetlina- 
Zboj road from the western flank as well. Violent winter storms 
raged across the Carpathians on April 2 and 3, 1915; nature 
spread a great white pall over the scenes of carnage. While the 
elements were battling, the weary human fighting machine rested 
and bound its wounds. But not for long. Scarcely had the last 
howls of the blizzard faded away when the machine was again 
set in motion. 

South of Dukla and Lupkow and north of Uzsok fighting was 
resumed with intense vigor. Painfully digging through the 
snowdrifts the Austrians retired from the Smolnik-Kalnica line, 
now no longer tenable. Storm hampered the pursuing enemy, 
who captured the Cisna railway station on April 4, 1915, with all 
its rolling stock and large stores of munitions. 


On April 6, 1915, a Russian communique announced that 
"during the period from March 20 to April 3, 1915, we took 
prisoners in the Carpathians, on the front from Baligrod to 
Uzsok, 378 officers, 11 doctors, and 33,155 men. We captured 
17 guns and 101 machine guns. Of these captives 117 officers, 
16,928 men, 8 guns, and 59 machine guns were taken on a front 
of fifteen versts (10 miles)." 

The Russians again advanced along their whole front on April 
4, 1915 ; forcing their way along the Rostoki stream, they carried 
the village of Rostoki Gorne with the bayonet and penetrated the 
snow-bound Rostoki Pass. Their first line arrived at a Hun- 
garian village called Orosz-Russka, five miles from Nagy Polena, 
at the foot of the pass. The Austrians attempted to drive them 
back, but they held their ground. 

While fortune was steadily following the efforts of the czar's 
troops in the Lupkow-Uzsok sector, the German War Staff were 
preparing their plans for the great decisive blow that was soon to 
be struck. South of the Carpathians, barely thirty miles away, 
formidable reenforcements were collecting; they arrived from 
the East Prussian front, from Poland, and even from the west, 
where they had faced the French and British. There were also 
new formations fresh from Germany. General von der Marwitz 
arrived in the Laborcza Valley with a whole German army corps. 
These gigantic preparations were not unknown to the Russians ; 
they, also, strained every nerve to throw all available reenforce- 
ments behind and into the battle line, strengthening every posi- 
tion except one. South of the Lupkow the Germanic forces 
opened their counteroffensive on April 6, 1915. Official reports 
on the first day's fighting differ somewhat. The Russians admit 
a slight German advance, but assert that they were able to with- 
stand all further attacks. The Germans, on the other hand, 
claim great successes and the capture of 6,000 Russian prisoners. 

The Germanic armies in this case, however, certainly did ad- 
vance, for the Russians withdrew from the Virava Valley, which 
they had entered four days earlier. The first object of the 
counteroffensive was to save the Austrians who were holding the 
frontier south of Lupkow from being enveloped and cut off. But 


on April 9, 1915, the Russians again moved forward, and recov- 
ered part of the Virava Valley. By this day the whole mountain 
crest from Dukla to Uzsok, a distance of over seventy miles, had 
been conquered by thv; Russians. By the same night they had re- 
pulsed a counterattack near the Rostoki and captured a battalion 
of Austrian infantry. The Russian report sums up thus : "We 
seized Height 909 (909 meters=3,030 feet) with the result that 
the enemy was repulsed along the entire length of the principal 
chain of the Carpathians in the region of our offensive." 

For the next three days Brussilov attempted to work his way 
to the rear of the Uzsok position with his right wing from the 
Laborcz and Ung valleys, while simultaneously continuing his 
frontal attacks against Boehm-Ermolli and Von Bojna. Cutting 
through snow sometimes more than six feet deep, the Russians 
approached at several points within a distance of three miles 
from the Uzsok Valley. But the Austrians still held the Opolonek 
mountain group in force. Severe fighting then developed north- 
west of the Uzsok on the slopes between Bukoviec and Beniova ; 
the Russians captured the village of Wysocko Nizne to the north- 
east, which commands the only roads connecting the Munkacz- 
Stryj and the Uzsok-Turka lines. Though both sides claimed local 
successes, they appear to have fought each other to a deadlock, 
for very little fighting occurred in this zone after April 14, 1915. 
Henceforth Brussilov directed his main efforts to the Virava and 
Cisna-Rostoki sector. From here and Volosate, where there had 
been continuous fighting since the early days of April, the Rus- 
lians strove desperately for possession of the Uzsok. They were 
low only two or three days' march from the Hungarian plains. 

Between April 17 and 20, 1915, a vigorous Austrian counter- 
attack failed to check the Russian advance. Between Telepovce 
id Zuella, two villages south of the Lupkow, the Russians noise- 
jssly approached the Austrian barbed-wire entanglements, 
>roke through, and after a brief bayonet encounter gained pos- 
jssion of two heights and captured the village of Nagy Polena, 
little farther to the east. During the night of April 16-17, 
[915, the Russians took prisoners 24 officers, 1,116 men, and 3 
machine guns. 


On April 18, 1915, the Austrians directed several fierce attacks 
against the heights south of Telepovce, but were compelled to 
evacuate the approaches to their positions. Here, also, an Aus- 
trian battalion was cut off and forced to surrender. Meanwhile 
the fighting was gradually decreasing in intensity ; the great Car- 
pathian campaign had reached the end of another chapter. The 
Austro-German offensive had failed in its purpose. From 
Uzsok eastward there had been but little fighting after the Rus- 
sian recapture of Stanislawow. 



WHILE the struggle for the passes was raging in the central 
Carpathians an interesting campaign was being conducted 
in Eastern Galicia and the Bukowina between Von Pfianzer- 
Baltin and Lechitsky. There we left the Russians in possession 
of Stanislawow, which they had reoccupied on March 4, 1915. 
Two days before, an Austrian detachment of infantry and two 
divisions of cavalry attempted a raid into Russian territory near 
the Bessarabian frontier. Within forty-eight hours they were 
hurled back. Beyond local skirmishes and maneuvering for 
positions, nothing of importance happened from March 4 till the 
15th, when the Russians attacked the main Austrian forces south- 
east of Czernowitz. Crossing the River Pruth opposite Ludi- 
horecza, which lies about 600 feet high, and where the Czerno- 
witz waterworks are situated, the Russians occupied the place 
and threatened the Austrian position in the town, around which 
pressed laborers were digging trenches night and day for the 
defenders. Along the line between Sadagora and Old Zuczka the 
Russians had been settled for over six months. The Austrians 
attacked this position on March 21, 1915, with the aid of reen- 
forcements and compelled the Russians to evacuate Sadagora. 


While falling back in the south the Russians endeavored to ad- 
vance in the north, from the direction of Czemiavka, and out- 
flank the Austrians. Violent fighting raged for several days, 
especially northeast from Czemowitz to beyond Rarancze, with 
the result that the Russians were compelled to withdraw toward 
Bojan, near their own frontier, on March 27. Three days later 
some Hungarian Honved battalions, who had penetrated into 
Russian territory near Szylowce, were surrounded by Cossacks 
and severely handled. Besides many killed and wounded the 
Austrians lost over 1,000 prisoners, and by April 2, 1915, the 
Russians had thrown the remainder back across their borders. 
On April 10, 1915, the Russians withdrew from Boyan, but re- 
turned on the 14th. Here, at the close of April, they concen- 
trated large reenforcements and recovered most of the ground 
they had lost since the middle of March. 

Some twenty miles northwest of Czernowitz, sheltered in a 
loop of the Dniester, lies an important fortified town called 
Zaleszczyki. It had a population of over 76,000, and is a station 
on the branch line connecting Czortkow junction with the 
Kolomca-Czemowitz railway. From the dense forests east of the 
town an Austrian column commanded by Count von Bissingen 
had attempted during the night of March 22-23, 1915, to turn 
the adjacent Russian positions, held by Cossacks and Siberian 
fusiliers. A furious fight developed, and the Austro-Hungarian 
column, which included some of the finest troops, was repulsed 
with heavy loss. Two other attempts were made here, on April 
10 and 17, 1915. On the latter date a detachment of Tyrolese 
sharpshooters were trapped in the wire entanglements and 

One more battle on a big scale remains to be chronicled from 
the far eastern sector; it may also serve to illustrate the wide 
[divergence that not infrequently exists between official com- 
gnuniques recording the same event. Early in April, 1915, a 
Russian force threw a bridge across the Dniester near the village 
)f Filipkowu and moved along the road running from Uscie 
[Biskupie via Okna and Kuczurmik on to Czemowitz, the inten- 
tion being to turn the A"ai-Wan positions south of Zaleszczyki 


from the rear. We will let the rival communiques relate what 
happened : 

Austrian Version Russian Version 

Annihilated two battalions Annihilated two battalions 

of Russian infantry belonging of the Honveds ; captured 21 

to the Alexander Regiment; officers, over 1,000 rank and 

took 1,400 prisoners, and file, and 8 machine guns, 
drove Russians back beyond 
the Dniester. 

The curtain was about to rise for the next act, wherein will be 
played one of the most terrific reversals of fortune ever produced 
in military history. 

For quite a month it had been an open secret that considerable 
masses of German troops were being transported to the Car- 
pathian front. What was not known, however, was the mag- 
nitude or the plan of these preparations. Never was a greater 
concentration of men and machinery more silently and more 
speedily accomplished. All along the south of the range, on the 
great Hungarian plains, there assembled a gigantic host of 
numerous nationalities. But it was away to the west, in that 
narrow bottle neck where the Dunajec flows from the Polish 
frontier down to the Tarnow Pass, that the mighty thunderbolt 
had been forged. Thousands of heavy guns were here planted in 
position, and millions of shells conveyed thither under cover of 
night. Countless trains carried war materials, tents, pontoons, 
cattle, provisions, etc. Finally the troops arrived — from the 
different fronts where they could be spared, and new levies from 
Germany and Austria-Hungary. Smoothly and silently men 
and machines dropped into their respective places: All was 
ready; not a detail had been overlooked; German organization 
had done its part. The commander was Von Mackensen, nomi- 
nally Commander of the Eleventh German Army, but in reality 
supreme director of the whole campaign. 

During April, 1915, a number of changes had taken place 
among the commanding officers of the Austro-German armies; 
the new dispositions of groups along the battle line differ con- 


siderably from those which obtained during the fighting for the 
passes. The line was now enormously strengthened, and more 
compact. This applies only to the Germanic side ; there is little 
change on the Russian. At this stage the Russian front on the 
west of Galicia extended from Opatovie on the Polish frontier 
along the Dunajec, Biala, and Ropa Rivers by Tamow, Ciez- 
kovice, and Gorlice down to Zboro in Hungary ; from here it runr 
eastward past Sztropko, Krasnilbrod, Virava, and Nagy Polena 
to the Uzsok Pass, a distance of about 120 miles. Ewarts com- 
manded the army on the Nida ; the Dunajec-Biala line was still held 
by Dmitrieff , Commander in Chief of the Eighth Russian Army ; 
Brussilov still commanded the main army of the Carpathians, 
and Lechitsky in the Bukowina in the place of Alexeieff, who 
had succeeded General Russky in the northern group. The whole 
southern group, from the Nida to the Sereth inclusive, was under 
the supreme command of General Ivanoff . Facing Dmitrieff on 
the Dunajec front stood now the Fourth Austro-Hungarian Army 
under the Archduke Joseph Ferdinand, about five army corps, in- 
cluding a German cavalry division under General von Besser; 
then the Ninth and Fourteenth Austrian Army Corps; to their 
right, several Tyrolese regiments; the Sixth Austro-Hungarian 
Army Corps of General Arz von Straussenburg, with the Prussian 
Guards on his left and Bavarian troops under Von Emmich 
on his right; the Eleventh German Army Corps under Von 
Mackensen; the Third Austro-Hungarian Army under General 
Boroyevitch von Bojna; the Tenth Army Corps under General 
Martiny. This formidable combination now confronted the 
Dunajec-Biala positions, which Dmitrieff had held without exer- 
tion for four months. Only a mile or two away he still inspected 
his trenches and conducted his minor operations, totally uncon- 
scious of the brewing storm specially directed against him. The 
Laborza district was held by the Archduke Joseph with the 
Seventh Army Corps; on his left stood a German corps under 
Von Marwitz, and on his right the Tenth Army Corps, north of 
Bartfeld, with some additional forces in between. Around the 
Lupkow and Uzsok passes the Second Austro-Hungarian Army 
under Boehm-Ermolli was stationed where it had been since 


February, 1915. Next, on the right, the Austro-Hungarian 
army corps under Von Goglia ; in the Uzsok lay an army under 
Von Szurmay, nearly all Magyars, of whom the chief commander 
was Von Linsingen. Farther eastward stood a Prussian corps, 
embodying a division of Prussian Guards and other regiments 
commanded by General Bothmer, a Bavarian, who had been re- 
enforced with a Hungarian division under Bartheldy; then fol- 
lowed the corps of Generals Hofmann and Fleischman, composed 
of all Austrian nationalities, intrenched in the mountain valleys. 
More German troops held the next sector, and, finally, came Von 
Pflanzer-Baltin's army groups in the Bukowina and Eastern 
Galicia. Against this huge iron ring of at least twenty-four 
Germanic corps (about 2,000,000 men) and a great store of re- 
serves, the Russians could not muster more than about fourteen 
of their own corps. As has already been pointed out, the great- 
est disparity of strength existed on the Dunajec line, where 
Dmitrieff stood opposed to about half of the enemy's entire force 
with only five corps of Russian troops. The Austro-German 
forces, moreover, were infinitely better equipped with munitions 
and heavy artillery. The lack of big guns was undoubtedly the 
reason why the Russians had not attempted an invasion of Hun- 
gary. Hence they stuck to the mountain passes where their 
opponents were unable to carry their artillery, although they 
were amply supplied with the same. It is true that the Russians 
could have produced an equal — or even greater — ^number of men, 
but they had not the arms and accouterments. 

Speaking from safe knowledge after the event, it is possible 
to indicate with moderate accuracy at least one of the ingenious 
stratagems adopted by the Germans to disguise their tremendous 
preparations against the Dunajec line. For months the fighting 
in this region had never been severe. When, therefore, local 
attacks and counterattacks on a small scale started on the Biala, 
as far back as April 4, 1915, Dmitrieff and his staff regarded this 
activity on the Austrians part as merely a continuation of the 
sporadic assaults they had grown accustomed to. Besides hold- 
ing his own, Dmitrieff had on several occasions been able to 
assist Brussilov on his left. Until the big German drive com- 


menced they had only been opposed to three Austro-German 
army corps and a Prussian division ; now there were twelve corps 
on their front, supplied with enormous resources of artillery, 
shells, and cavalry. Most serious of all, Dmitrieff had neglected 
to construct second and third lines to which he could retire in an 
emergency. Of the rivers that lay behind him — ^the Wisloka, the 
Wistok, and the San — ^the first would be useful to cover Brus- 
silov's position at the western passes, but beyond that he could 
not retreat without imperiling the whole Carpathian right flank. 
It was on this very calculation that the German plan— ^simple but 
effective — was based. The Russian grip on the Carpathians 
could only be released either by forcing a clear road through 
any pass into Galicia, or by turning one of the extreme flanks. 
Had the Austrians succeeded in breaking through as far as 
Jaslo, Dmitrieff would have been cut off and Brussilov forced to 
withdraw — followed by the whole line. The same result would 
follow if a thrust from the Bukowina succeeded in recapturing 
Lemberg. Both methods had been attempted, and both had 
failed. Germany's overwhelming superiority in artillery could 
not be effectively displayed in mountain warfare, but Dmitrieff's 
position on the Dunajec offered an easy avenue of approach. 

At the eleventh hour Dmitrieff grasped the situation and 
applied to Ivanoff for reenforcements. Owing to some blunder 
the appeal never reached the Russian chief, and Dmitrieff had to 
do the best he could. Nothing now could save his small force 
from those grim lines of gaping muzzles turned against his 
positions. The overture began on April 28, 1915, with an ad- 
vance on the Upper Biala toward Gorlice, by Von Mackensen's 
right. Here some minor attacks had been previously made, and 
the gradually increasing pressure did not at first reveal the in- 
tent or magnitude of the movement behind it. Meanwhile the 
German troops about Ciezkovice and Senkova — respectively 
northwest and southeast of Gorlice — were moving by night 
nearer to the battle line. The Russian front line extended from 
Ciezkovice in a southeasterly direction. Hence it soon became 
clear that Gorlice itself was to be the main objective of the attack. 
A Russian official announcement of May 2, 1915, boldly states: 


"During the nights of April 30 to May 1 strong Austrian forces 
opened an offensive in the region of Ciezkovice. Our fire forced 
the enemy to intrench 600 paces in front of our trenches." 
Furthermore, the Germans at the same time had directed artillery 
fire and bayonet attacks against various points on the Rava, 
Pilica, Nida, and the Dunajec. These, however, were merely 
movements aiming at diversion, meant to mask the intentions of 
the main attack and to mislead the Russians. On the evening of 
May 1, 1915, the German batteries began experimenting against 
the Russian positions. This was kept up all night while the 
engineers attempted to destroy the first line of the Russian wire 
entanglements. During the same night the Austrians dragged 
several heavy howitzers across the road from Gladyszow to 
Malastow, and got them into position without the knowledge of 
the Russians. In the morning of May 2, 1915, the great batteries 
began to roar against the Russian line — a fire such as had per- 
haps never been witnessed before. A spectator thus describes 
the scene : "In one part the whole area was covered with shells 
till trenches and men were leveled out of existence." It was re- 
ported that 700,000 shells had been fired in the space of four 
hours, for which period this preliminary bombardment lasted. 
The Russian line was turned into a spluttering chaos of earth, 
stones, trees, and human bodies. The German and Austrian 
batteries then proceeded to extend the range, and poured a hur- 
ricane of shells behind the enemy's front line. This has the 
effect of doubly isolating that line, by which the survivors of the 
first bombardment cannot retreat, neither can reenforcements 
be sent to them, for no living being could pass through the fire 
curtain. Now is the time for the attacker's infantry to charge. 
Along the greater part of the Ciezkovice- Walastow line this stage 
was reached by ten o'clock in the morning of May 2, 1915. 

A German writer tells us that "in this part of the front in- 
fantry fighting has given place for the time being to the action 
of our heavy artillery, which is subjecting to a terrible fire the 
positions of the enemy. These positions had been carefully re- 
connoitered during the lull in the fighting which prevailed dur- 
ing the last few months. Only after all cover is destroyed, the 

H Grand Duke Nicholas i 




enemy's infantry killed or forced to retire, we take up the attack 
against the positions; the elan of our first attack now usually 
leads to a favorable result." 

At Ciezkovice the Germans pushed bridges across the Biala 
under cover of a furious cannonade. Troops were thrown over, 
and after a very short struggle the village was taken. The huge 
oil tanks soon were in flames and Ciezkovice a heap of smolder- 
ing ruins. The Russian defense crumpled up like smoke; their 
position blown out of existence. Their guns were toys compared 
with those of the Germans and Austrians. North of Ciezkovice 
the Prussian Guard and other German troops under General von 
Francois fell upon the Russians and forced them to retire toward 
the Olpiny-Biecz line. The ground of the Russian positions on 
Mount Viatrovka and Mount Pustki in front of Biecz had been 
"prepared" by 21-centimeter (7-inch) Krupp howitzers and the 
giant Austrian 30.5-centimeter (10-inch) howitzers from the 
Skoda-Werke at Pilsen. The shells of the latter weigh nearly 
half a ton, and their impact is so terrific that they throw the 
earth up 100 feet high. Whatever had remained of the town of 
Gorlice in the shape of buildings or human beings was mean- 
while being wiped out by a merciless spray of shells. Being the 
center of an important oil district, Gorlice possessed oil wells, 
great refineries, and a suphuric-acid factory. As the flames 
spread from building to building, streets pouring with burning 
oil, huge columns of fire stretching heavenward from the oil 
wells in full blaze, and, over all, the pitiless hail of iron and ex- 
plosives pouring upon them, the horror of the situation in which 
the soldiers and civilians found themselves may be faintly 
imagined. Gorlice was an inferno in a few hours. When the 
German infantry dashed into the town they found the Russians 
still in possession. Fighting hand to hand, contesting every step, 
the Russians were slowly driven out. 

We have mentioned that German troops were moving on 
Senkova, southeast of Gorlice, by night. During the last two 
days of April the Bavarians captured the Russian position in the 
Senkova valley. A further move was made here during the 
night of May 1-2, 1915, preparatory to dislodging the Russians 

18— War St. 3 


from the ground they still held. At seven o^clock in the morning 
the big howitzers started to "prepare" that ground. By ten 
o'clock it was deemed that every living thing had perished, when 
the "fire curtain" was drawn behind the Russian position. 
Infantry were then thrown forward — some Bavarian regiments. 
To their intense astonishment they were received with a most 
murderous fire from Russian rifles, and machine guns. The first 
attack failed and many were killed, few getting beyond the wire 
entanglements. Cautiously other troops advanced to the battered 
Russian trenches cut off from the rear by the artillery screen 
behind. Yet here again they met with strenuous resistance 
in the Zamczysko group of hills. The Austrian artillery shelled 
the heights, and the Bavarians finally took possession. The 
Tenth Austrian Army Corps had meanwhile conquered the 
Magora of Malastow and the majority of the heights in the Ostra 
Gora group. On Sunday, May 2, 1915, the Austro-German 
armies pierced the Dunajec-Biala line in several places, and by 
nightfall the Russians were retreating to their last hope — ^the 
line of the Wisloka. The operations round Gorlice on that day 
resulted in breaking the Russian defenses to a depth of over 
two miles on a front of ten or eleven miles. Mr. Stanley Wash- 
burn wrote from the battle field at the time: "The Germans 
had shot their last bolt, a bolt forged from every resource in 
men and munitions that they could muster after months of prep- 
aration." Of the Russian army he said, "it was outclassed 
in everything except bravery, and neither the German nor any 
other army can claim superiority in that respect." 

With the center literally cut away, the keystone of the Rus 
sian line had been pulled out, and nothing remained but to 
retire. Ten miles north of Ciezkovice lies the triangle formed 
by the confluence of the Dunajec and Biala rivers and the Zak- 
liczyn-Gromnik road. Within this triangle, commanding the 
banks of both rivers up to the Cracow-Tarnow line, the Rus- 
sians held the three hills marked 402, 419, and 269 which figures 
express their height in meters. 

During February and March, 1915, the Austrians attempted 
to dislodge the enemy, but without success. It was now neces- 


sary to take those positions before advance could be made against 
Tamow, and the Fourth Austro-Hungarian Army, commanded 
by the Archduke Joseph Ferdinand, undertook the task. At six 
A. M. on May 2 the Austrian artillery opened fire against Hill 
419 from Mount Val (also within the triangle) , and the opposite 
bank of the Dunajec. After three hours' bombardment some 
regiments of Tyrolese fusiliers, who had crossed the valley 
between Mt. Val and 419 and had taken up positions at the foot 
of the latter, about 400 yards from the Russian trenches, were 
ordered to charge. Dashing up the open, steep slope the fusiliers 
were suddenly enfiladed from their right by a spray of machine 
gun and rifle fire, killing many and driving back the survivors. 
Next day Hill 419 was again fiercely shelled, this time with 
deadly effectiveness; but even then the Russians still clung to 
their battered ground. 

The Austrians now charged the trenches on Hill 412, whence 
the fusiliers had been ambushed the previous day. A desperate 
hand-to-hand encounter, in which they had to force their way 
step by step, finally gave the position to the attackers. The few 
Russians still left on 419 could not hold out after the loss of 
412. They retired northward on to Height 269, but subsequently 
followed the general retreat of the line. Still farther north, 
almost at the right flank of Dmitrieff' s line, the Austrians 
effected a crossing of the Dunajec opposite Otfinow, thus break- 
ing the connection between the West Galician Army of Dmitrieff , 
and the neighboring Russian Army on the Nida — ^the left wing 
of the northern groups commanded by Alexeieff . 

Just below Tarnow, however, the Russians still held out; 
losing the three hills had not quite broken their defense on the 
Biala. The right wing of Von Mackensen*s army, which had 
smashed the Russian front around Gorlice, rapidly moved east 
in an almost straight line to reach the Dukla Pass and cut off 
the retreat of the Russian troops stationed south of the range 
between Zboro and Nagy Polena, in northwest Hungary. The 
left wing, on the other hand, advanced in a northeasterly 
direction, ever widening the breach made in the enemy's domain. 
This clever move brought the Germans to the rear of Tamow 


and onto the lines of communications of the Russians holding 
it. It also prevented reenf orcements from reaching the truncated 
end of Dmitrieff's right — or what had been his right — wing. 
By pushing on to Dembica and Rzeszow, along which route 
assistance could otherwise have been sent to the Russians, Von 
Mackensen opened a wide triangle into Western Galicia, by 
drawing an almost horizontal line from Gorlice to Radjrmno, be- 
tween Jaroslav and Przemysl, and from there perpendicular 
down to the Uzsok Pass. 

From Uzsok to the Lupkow westward stood the Second Austro- 
Hungarian Army under Boehm-Ermolli on the north of the Car- 
pathians. To his left, southwest of the Magora of Malastow, 
and adjoining the formidable Germanic array facing the 
Dunajec-Biala line lay the Third Austro-Hungarian Army under 
General Boroyevitch von Bojna. These two armies, it will be 
l-emembered, took part in the first offensive in January, and had 
been there ever since. Both of these armies now began to 
advance into the triangle, and the brilliant simplicity of Von 
Mackensen's geometrical strategy becomes clear. Let one 
imagine Galicia as a big stone jar with a narrow neck lying on 
the table before him, neck pointing toward the left hand, and 
he will obtain an approximately accurate idea of the topographi- 
cal conditions. That side of the jar resting on the table repre- 
sents the Carpathian range, solid indeed, but with numerous 
openings: these are the passes. The upper side of the jar 
represents the Russian frontier, across which the invaders had 
swarmed in and taken possession of the whole inside, lining 
themselves right along the mouths of the passes at the bottom 
and across the neck upwards. 

For months the Austrians vainly endeavored to force an en- 
trance through the thickest walls — from the lower edge, and 
from the base or bottom of the jar (the Bukowina) , apparently 
overlooking the rather obvious proposition that the cork was 
the softest part and that was Dmitrieff's Dunajec-Biala line. 
Here at least no mountain range stood in the way. It may 
also be regarded as a mathematical axiom that, given sufficient 
artillery power, the strongest defense the wit of man could 


devise can be smashed. What Mackensen did, therefore, was 
to blow a hole through the cork, push in a pair of scissors up to 
the rivet, meanwhile opening the blades to an angle of about 
forty-five degrees. From the lower or southern shoulder of the 
jar the Third Austro-Hungarian Army pushes forward inside, 
supported on its right by Boehm-Ermolli, who had been just 
inside a long time, but could get no farther. They began to 
shepherd the Russian troops around and in the western passes 
toward the lower double-edged blade of Von Mackensen's terrible 
scissors. The Russian retreat to the Wisloka was a serious 
disaster for Dmitrieff ; he had been caught napping, and had to 
pay dearly in men and guns for not having created a row of 
alternative positions. His force had been a cover for Brussi- 
lov's operations on both sides of the western passes as well as 
for the whole Russian line in the Carpathians. Now that Von 
Mackensen had pried the lid off, Brussilov's men in the south 
encountered enormous difficulties in extricating themselves from 
the Carpathian foothills, suddenly transformed from compara- 
tive strongholds into death-traps and no longer tenable. They 
suffered severely, especially the Forty-eighth Division. 

Besides the menace from the northwest of Von Mackensen's 
swiftly approaching right, a third blade was gradually growing 
on the deadly scissors, in the shape of Boehm-Ermolli's and Von 
Bojna's forces, threatening to grind them between two relentless 
jaws of steel. It is Sunday, the second day of May, 1915; to 
all intents and purposes the battle of the Dunajec, as such, was 
over, and the initial aim of the Germanic offensive has been 
attained. The Russian line was pierced and its defense shat- 
tered. Von Mackensen's "Phalanx" was advancing two mighty 
tentacles guided by a master mind, remorselessly probing for 
the enemy's strongest points. Its formation comprised, in the 
northeastern tentacle, the Sixth Austro-Hungarian Army 
orps and the Prussian Guards ; in the southern, the Bavarians 

der Von Emmich and the Tenth Austro-Hungarian Army 
Corps under General Martiny. 

On May 3, 1915, Dmitrieff's troops were falling back farther 
every hour, continuously fighting rear-guard actions and com- 



pelling the pursuers to conquer every foot of ground. There 
was a powerful reason for this stubborn retirement: it was to 
gain time for Brussilov to get his men out of their perilous 
positions and to join the main line again with Dmitrieff's reced- 
ing ranks. If this could be effected, the fatal gap between them 
— ^made by Von Mackensen's battering-ram — would be repaired, 
and they could once more present a united front to the enemy. 
It was mentioned a little farther back that the Austrians had 
pierced the Dunajec line at Otfinow, north of Tamow, by which 
was cut in two the hitherto unbroken Russian battle front, from 
the Baltic to the Rumanian frontier (900 miles) ; the "scissors" at 
Gorlice had made it three; if Boehm-Ermolli's drive from the 
Uzsok upward along the "triangle line" to Jaroslav succeeds, there 
will be four separate pieces of Russian front. But from Tamow 
southward to Tuchow, a small twenty-mile salient on the Biala, 
the Russians are still in possession on May 4, 1915, defying the 
Fourth Austro-Hungarian Army. 



TT is a matter for speculation whether the numerous successes 
J- achieved by the Russians against the Austrians and Germans in 
Galicia and the Carpathians during the first seven months of 
the war had begotten a spirit of overconfidence among the Rus- 
sian commanders, or whether it was not in their power to have 
made more effective preparations than they had done. We have 
seen that Dmitrieff had not provided himself with those neces- 
sary safety exits which were now so badly needed. As no 
artificially prepared defenses were at hand, natural ones had 
to be found. The first defense was irretrievably lost ; the second 
line was a vague, undefined terrain extending across the hills 
between Biala in the west and the River Wisloka in the east. 
Between Tuchow and Olpiny, the Mountain Dobrotyn formed one 


of the chief defensive positions, being 1,800 feet high and thickly 
covered with woods. 

Southward, the Lipie Mountain, about 1,400 feet, formed an- 
other strong point. Just below Biecz, close to the road and rail- 
road leading to Gorlice, a mountain of 1,225 feet, called Wilszak, 
is the strategical key to the valley of the lower Ropa. Between 
Biecz and Bednarka, the line of defense followed the heights of 
the Kobylanka, Tatarovka, Lysa Gora, and of the Rekaw ; hence 
to the east, as the last defense of the Jaslo-Zmigrod road, lay 
the intrenched positions on the Ostra Gora, well within Brussi- 
lov's sector. Southward of the Gorlice-Zmigrod line lay the 
mountain group of the Valkova, nearly 2,800 feet high, the 
last defense of the line of retreat for the Russian forces from 

The Wisloka was the third line of defense, only a river, and 
without intrenchments. From Dembica to Zihigrod it runs 
roughly parallel with the Dunajec-Biala line ; its winding course 
separates it in places from fifteen to thirty-five miles from the 
latter river. Strong hopes were entertained that the Russians 
would be able to stem the Germanic torrent by a firm stand on 
the Wisloka. 

A fierce battle raged on the third and fourth of May, 1915, for 
the possession of the wooded hills between the Biala and the 
Wisloka. The Prussian Guard stormed Lipie Mountain and cap- 
tured it on the third ; on the fourth they took Olpiny, Szczerzyny 
and the neighboring hills at the point of the bayonet. 

The Thirty-ninth Hungarian Division, now incorporated in 
the Eleventh German Army under the direct command of Von 
Mackensen himself, had advanced from Grybow via Gorlice on 
the Biecz railway line, and were making a strong attack on the 
Russian positions on Wilczak Mountain with a tremendous con- 
centration of artillery. It seems the Russians simply refused 
to be blown out of their trenches, for it required seven separate 
attacks to drive them out. That accomplished, the fate of Biecz 
was decided and the road to Jaslo — ^the "key" to the Wisloka 
line of defense — ^was practically open to General Arz von Straus- 
senburg. Lying at the head of the main roads leading into Hun- 


gary through the Tilicz, Dukla, and Lupkow passes, Jaslo is the 
most important railway junction in the whole region between 
Tamow and Przemysl. It was at Jaslo that Dmitrieff had held 
his headquarters for four months. 

Just south of him, barely fifteen miles away, General von 
Emmich and General Martiny, with the "Bayonet Bavarians'' 
and the Tenth Austro-Hungarian Army Corps, went pounding 
and slashing a passage along the Bednarka-Zmigrod road and 
the auxiliary road from Malastow to Krempna. They were 
striving hard to reach the western passes before Brussilov 
had time to withdraw. He began that operation on the fourth. 
On the same night Von Emmich and Martiny reached Krempna, 
and the last line of retreat for the Russians around Zboro was 
imperiled. They have yet to cross the range from Hungary back 
into Galicia. So subtly potent and effective was the pressure 
on a flank that the whole line — ^be it hundreds of miles long — is 
more or less influenced thereby, as witness : 

On the same night. May 4, 1915, the retreat spread 
like a contagion to the entire west Galician front, compel- 
ling the Russians to evacuate northern Hungary up to the 
Lupkow Pass; in that pass itself preparations are afoot to 
abandon the hard-earned position. It is not fear, nor the pre- 
caution of cowardice that prompted this wholesale removal of 
fighting men : the inexorable laws of geometry demanded it. The 
enemy was at Krempna; as the crow flies the distance from 
Krempna to the northern debouchment of Lupkow is eighty 
miles; yet Lupkow was threatened, for the "line" or "front" is 
pierced — the vital artery of the defense is severed. The strength 
of a chain is precisely that of its weakest link. 

The course of events become complex ; fighting, advancing and 
retreating occurred over a widespread area. Apparently dis- 
connected movements by the Austro-Germans or the Russians 
fall into their proper places in accordance with the general 
scheme or objective either side may have in view. It is necessary 
to follow the scattered operations separately. We will therefore 
return now to the Tamow-Tucho sector, where we left a small 
Russian force holding the last remnant of the Dunajec-Biala 





front. Tamow had been the supply base for that front, and 
great stores of provisions and munitions still remained in the 
town. These the Russians succeeded in removing entirely. The 
main forces had already withdrawn in perfect order and fallen 
back beyond the Wisloka. During the night of May 4-5, 1915, 
two regiments of the Ninth Austro-Hungarian Army Corps 
crossed the Biala near Tuchow and moved northward in the 
direction of the road leading from Tamow to Pilzno, along 
which the remainder of the garrison would have to pass in 
order to retreat. On the hills west of Pilzno the Russians still 
held a position to protect that road. By the morning of the 
sixth everjrthing had gone eastward, and the Austrians had 
surrounded the town. 

The small cavalry detachment that had been left behind as rear 
guard cut through the Austrian lines and rejoined the main 
forces on the Wisloka. The Austrians had been bombarding 
Tarno for months with their heaviest artillery, destroying parts 
of the cathedral and the famous old town hall in the process. 

On May 7 the Russians withdrew from the Pilzno district, 
and the Dunajec-Biala Russian front had ceased to exist. From 
the hour that the Austro-Germans had broken through the line at 
Ciezkovice, on May 2, 1915, the Russian retreat on the Wisloka 
had begun. Yielding to the terrible pressure the line had increas- 
ingly lost its shape as the various component parts fell back, 
though it gradually resumed the form of a front on the 
Wisloka banks, where most determined fighting continued for 
five days. 

The Russians lost much of their artillery ; they had to reverse 
the customary military practice of an army in retreat. If the 
retreating army is well equipped with artillery and munitions, 
its guns cover the retreat and are sacrificed to save the men. 
During their retreat the Russians had often to sacrifice men in 
order to save their guns for a coming greater battle at some 
more important strategic point. Many prisoners fell to the Ger- 
manic armies; according to their own official reports they took 
80,000 in the fighting of May 2-4, 1915. What the Austro-Ger- 
man side lost in that time was not made public. 




BY the time the retreating Russians had reached the Wisloka 
they had to some extent recovered from the first shock of 
surprise, and were better able to attempt a determined stand 
against the overwhelming onrush of the Austro-Germanic troops. 
Ivanoff hurriedly sent reenforcements for Dmitrieff and Ewarts 
which included the Caucasian Corps of General Irmanoff from 
the Bzura front. The heavy German guns belched forth with 
terrible effect, and the Russians could not reply at the same 
weight or distance. Bayonets against artillery means giving 
odds away, but the attempt was made. With a savage fury that 
seems to belong only to Slavs and Mohammedans — fatalists — 
the Russians hurled themselves against the powerful batteries 
and got to close quarters with the enemy. For nearly twenty 
minutes a wild, surging sea of clashing steel — bayonets, swords, 
lances and Circassian daggers — ^wielded by fiery mountaineers 
and steady, cool, well-disciplined Teutons, roared and flowed 
around the big guns, which towered over the lashing waves 
like islands in a stormy ocean. A railway collision would seem 
mild compared with the impact of 18,000 desperate armed men 
against a much greater number of equally desperate and equally 
brave, highly-trained fighters. But machinery, numbers and 
skillful tactics will overcome mere physical courage. The Rus- 
sian avalanche was thrown back with terrific slaughter; the 
Caucasian Corps alone lost over 10,000 men, for which, it is 
estimated, they killed and wounded quite as many. More re- 
markable still was the fact that they captured a big battery and 
carried off 7,000 prisoners. For five days the storm raged back- 
ward and forward across the river; during the more violent 
bombardments the Russians left their trenches to be battered 
out of shape and withdrew l»to their shelter dugouts ; when the 
enemy infantry advanced to take possession, the Russians had 


returned to face the charge. Whereas cool, machinelike pre* 
cision marks the German soldier in battle as on the parade 
ground, an imperturbable obstinacy and total disregard of 
mortal danger characterizes the Russian. 

During the night of May 6-7, 1915, the Austrians sent two 
regiments across the Wisloka, north and south of Brzoctek, 
about midway between Pilzno and Jaslo, under cover of artillery 
posted on a 400-foot hill near Przeczyca on the opposite bank, 
i.e., the left. Austrian engineers constructed a bridge across the 
river, and on the morning of May 7 the Austrian advance guard 
were in possession of the hills north of the town. Infantry 
were then thrown across to storm Brzostek. Here, again, they 
met with resolute opposition from the Russian rear guards cov- 
ering the retreat of the main armies, which had already fallen 
back from the Wisloka. Desperate bayonet fighting ensued in 
the streets, each of which had to be cleared separately to dis- 
lodge the Russians — ^the civilians meanwhile looking out of their 
windows watching the animated scenes below. Hungarian troops 
in overwhelming masses poured across the river and finally cap- 
tured the town. Once more on the backward move, the Russians 
established themselves along the western and southern fringe 
of the forests by Januszkovice, only eight miles away, and pre- 
pared to make another stand. More fighting occurred here, and 
during May 7 and 8, 1915, the Russians fell back farther to- 
ward Frysztak, on the river Wistok. 

We left Von Emmich and General Martiny with the Bavarians 
and the Tenth Austro-Hungarian Army Corps on their arrival 
at Krempna on the night of the 4th, during which time the 
Russians were making desperate efforts to evacuate northern 
Hungary and the western passes. The main forces of Von Mac- 
kensen's "phalanx" were meanwhile pushing on toward Jaslo, 
still in Russian possession. On the hills west of the Wisloka the 
Russian rear guards had intrenched themselves and held their 
positions till nightfall on May 5, 1915, all with the object of 
delaying the Germanic advance sufficiently for their comrades 
to clear the passes. Then they fell back again and made a 
stand near Tarnoviec, about six or seven miles east of Jaslo, 


where they dominated an important strategic position. Between 
them and Jaslo two railways ran along the valley of the River 
Jasliska, forming a serious obstacle to Von Mackensen's advance 
so long as the Russians could hold it. It was imperative that 
they should be cleared out, but the task of carrying it through 
was a difficult one. The undertaking fell to the Hungarian 
troops of the Thirty-ninth Honved Division, who advanced to the 
attack again and again only to be driven back each time by the 
Russian fire from the heights. Big howitzers were called into 
play and soon demolished the positions. 

The Russians retired east of the Wistok, followed by Von 
Mackensen's Austro-Hungarian corps, while the Prussian Guards 
moved on toward Frysztak, where the Russian troops from the 
Tarnow sector had taken up positions after the retreat from 

On May 7, 1915, the Prussian Guards had passed over the rail- 
way at Krosno, and at night fell upon the Russian lines east of 
the Wistok. Particularly fierce encounters took place near Odrzy- 
kon and Korczina, ten to fourteen miles southeast of Frysztak. 
A little farther westward Von Mackensen delivered his main 
attack against the railway crossing at Jaslo, which fell on the 
same day. May 7. The Russians retreated in confusion with 
Von Mackensen close upon their heejs. The whole defense on 
the Wisloka collapsed, and nothing apparently could now save 
the Dukla and those troops struggling through to escape from 
the net that was gradually being tightened around them. Mean- 
while, General Ewarts's Army of the Nida, which formed the con- 
necting link between the Russian northern and southern armies, 
had fallen back above Tarnow to the River Czarna in order to 
Keep in touch and conformity with Dmitrieff' s shrinking line, 
which was now actually broken by the Wisloka failure. The 
Russian position was extremely critical, for it seemed that the 
German general would roll up the two halves and thereby inflict 
a crushing and decisive defeat. General Ivanoff appears to have 
recognized Von Mackensen's intentions in time to devise measures 
to counteract the peril and save his left (Brussilov's army) from 
disaster. By pushing forward strong columns from Sanok on 


the Upper San to impose a temporary check upon the advancing 
tide, he gained a brief respite for the troops entangled in the 
passes. To that sector we will now turn to review the course of 

On May 4, 1915, the Russians began to evacuate the positions 
they held south of the range when Von Mackensen's extreme 
right approached Krempna. Forging along at high speed the 
Germans and Austrians occupied the towns of Dukla and Tylava, 
and arrived at Rymanow — still farther east — on the following 
day. The town of Dukla lies some fifteen miles due north of the 
Galician debouchment of the pass of that name, and Rymanow 
is about another fifteen miles east of that. Hence the German 
strategic plan was to draw a barrier line across the north 
of the Carpathians and hem the Russians in between that 
barrier and the Austro-Hungarian armies of Boehm-Ermolli and 
Von Bojna. It must distinctly be borne in mind that these two 
forces are also north of the passes : that of Von Bojna being sta- 
tioned at the elbow where the Germanic line turned from the 
Carpathians almost due north along the Dunajec-Biala front, or 
across the neck of our hypothetical jar. The Dukla and Lupkow 
passes were still in Russian hands ; these were the only two thal^ 
the Germanic offensives of January, February, and March, 1915, 
had failed to capture ; all the others, from Rostoki eastward, were 
held by the Austrians and Germans. It was through the Dukla 
and Lupkow that the Russians obtained their foothold in north- 
ern Hungary, and it was the only way open to them now to get 
back again. Around the Laborcza district stood the Seventh 
Austro-Hungarian Army Corps under the command of the Arch- 
duke Joseph, who now began to harass them, aided by the Ger- 
man "Beskid Corps" under General von Marwitz. This was the 
only section in the range where the Russians held both sides. 
Boehm-Ermolli had forced the Rostoki and Uzsok, but hitherto 
had been unable to get very far from their northern exits — ^not 
beyond Baligrod. During the fighting on the Dunajec these three 
armies merely marked time ; it was their object to keep the Rus- 
sians in Hungary and in the two passes until Von Mackensen 
had thrown the right of his "phalanx" across their only avenue 


of escape. That time was now rapidly approaching, and Von 
Bojna was gradually squeezing Brussilov from the west, while 
Boehm-Ermolli was following from the east and south. It ap- 
pears that the commanders of the Twelfth Russian Army Corps 
and the Third Russian Army, which stood on Hungarian soil 
from Zboro to Nagy Polena, did not grasp the full significance to 
them of the Dunajec catastrophe. 

Germanic troops were building a wall against their exits be- 
fore they had seriously thought of withdrawing. Escape was 
impossible for many of them; some had managed to get across 
the Dukla in time, while those left behind would either have tc 
surrender or fight their way through the lines across their path 
in the north. At the same time they would have Von Bojna and 
Boehm-Ermolli on their tracks. To make matters worse, they 
were also being pressed severely from the Hungarian plains by 
the troops which hitherto stood inactive. The Second Austro- 
Hungarian Army (Boehm-Ermolli) was fighting on both sides 
of the range. Through Rostoki they attempted to separate the 
Russians around Zboro from those situated farther east at Nagy 
Polena. We have stated elsewhere that the Forty-eighth Divi- 
sion was severely handled. They were surrounded in the Dukla 
by an overwhelming superior force, but General Komiloff, the 
commander, with a desperate effort and no little skill, succeeded 
in hacking his way through the enemy's lines and bringing a 
large portion of his force safely out of the trap. Inch by inch 
the Russian rear guards retreated, fighting tooth and nail to 
hold the pass while their comrades escaped. No less brave were 
the repeated charges made by the Austrians — clambering over 
rocks, around narrow pathways hanging high in the air, dizzy 
precipices and mountain torrents underneath. On Varentyzow 
Mountain, especially, a fierce hand-to-hand battle was fought 
between Hungarians and Cossacks, the latter finally withdraw- 
ing in perfect order. To conduct a successful retreat in the face 
of disaster is a no less difficult military achievement than the 
gaining of a decisive victory, and Brussilov's retreat from the 
passes deserves to rank as a masterly example of skillful tactics. 

On May 8, 1915, the Third Russian Army and the Forty-eighth 


Division had reunited with Brussilov's main army in the neigh- 
borhood of Sanok, twenty miles north of the Lupkow. When the 
commanders of a retreating army lose their heads the rank and 
file will inevitably become demoralized and panic-stricken. The 
retreat became a rout, and the possibility of making a stand, and 
to some extent retrieving the lost fortune of war, was extremely 
remote. A deeper motive than the mere reconquering of Galicia 
lay behind Von Mackensen's plan — ^he aimed at nothing less than 
the complete overthrow and destruction of the Russian armies. 
It was a gigantic effort of the Germanic powers to eliminate at 
least one of their most dangerous enemies. Once that was accom- 
plished it would release some millions of troops whose services 
were needed in the western theatre of war. The original plan 
had fallen through of crushing Russia quickly at the beginning 
of the war, before she would have had time to get ready, and 
then to turn against France in full force. The Austro-German 
Galician campaign was planned and undertaken with that specific 
object, and now, although defeated and in full retreat, the Rus- 
sian troops still formed an army in being, and not a fugitive, 
defenseless rabble. So long as an army is not captured or 
annihilated, it can be reorganized and again put in the field. It 
is on this consideration that so much importance attaches to the 
handling of an army in retreat. The Russians did not, of course, 
run away; on the contrary, they fought desperately and stub- 
bornly throughout the retreat, for their pursuers did not average 
more than six miles per day — a fact which testifies to the steady 
and orderly character of the Russian retirement. They suffered 
from the consequences of inadequate preparation and lack of 
foresight on the part of their leaders. 

The Russian troops on the Lower Wisloka held their positions 
longest, but they also fell back about May 8, 1915, and for the 
next two days enlgaged the enemy near some villages southwest 
of Sanok. Here a strong force had collected, which not only 
offered a powerful resistance, but even attempted a counter- 
attack against their pursuers. Over a front of 145 miles, ex- 
tending from Szczucin near the Vistula north of Tamow, down 
almost to the Uzsok Pass, a fierce battle progressed between 



May 8 and 10, 1915. In the region of Frysztak, where the Rus- 
sian line was weakest, the main German offensive was develop- 
ing its strongest attack. Reenforcements were on the way, but 
could not arrive in time. For the moment disaster was averted 
by an aggressive Russian counteroffensive halfway between 
Krosno and Sanok, from the Besko-Jacmierz front, by which 
move sufficient time was gained to enable the main forces to 
retreat. The Russian defense in the Vistok Valley collapsed on 
May 10, 1915; the German center had almost arrived within 
striking distance of the important railway line from Tamow via 
Dembica and Rzeszow to Jaroslav north of Przemysl. At Sanok 
the battered remnants of the Russian troops who had escaped 
from the passes maintained themselves with the greatest diffi- 
culty. Heavy German artillery followed the Bavarians to 
Rymanow, five miles from the Russian line at Besko, and were 
now playing fiercely upon the positions west of Sanok. The 
Tenth Austro-Hungarian Army Corps as well as the Seventh 
were making their presence felt from the southwest against 
Odrzechova and from the south, whence Von Marwitz with the 
German Beskid Corps was rapidly advancing. To the southeast, 
Boehm-Ermolli was battering the Baligrod-Lutoviska front, 
almost in the same position he occupied at the end of January 
in the first attempt to relieve Przemysl. 

The battle was practically over by the night of May 10, 1915 ; 
the Russians could hold out no longer against the ever-increasing 
flood of Austrians and Germans pouring across every road and 
pathway against their doomed line. Blasted and scorched by 
artillery, machine-gun and rifle fire; standing against incessant 
bayonet and cavalry charges; harassed by the Austrians from 
the south, the Russians were indeed in sore straits. Yet they had 
fought well; in the losing game they were playing they were 
exhausting their enemies as well as themselves in men and 
munitions — factors which are bound to tell in a long, drawn-out 
war. Above all, they still remained an army : they had not yet 
found their Sedan. No alternative lay before them — or rather 
behind them — other than retreat to the next possible line of 

defense — toward Przemysl. 

19— War St. 3 


Between May 11-12, 1915, the Germanic troops occupied the 
districts of Sendziszow, Rzeszow, Dynow, Sanok, Lisko, Lancut, 
and Dubiecko. Przevorsk was deserted by the Russians on the 
13th. The Seventh Russian Railway BattaUon, under Captain 
Ratloff, brought up the rear of the retreat to the Dembica-Jaro- 
slav Hne. From Rzeszow onward this battahon were employed 
in destroying stations, plants, tunnels, culverts, rolling stock, and 
railway bridges, to hamper as much as possible the German ad- 
vance. It took the Austro-Hungarian engineers between two 
and three weeks to repair the road and put it into sufficient work- 
ing order to transport their heavy siege artillery. With unin- 
terrupted labor and the most strenuous exertions they could only 
reconstruct about four miles per day. Repairs and renovations 
other than those of the railway system were necessary. The 
wounded had to be sent back to hospital, and fresh troops had to 
be brought up to fill the gaps torn in the Austro-German ranks 
during all the severe fighting since May 2, 1915. It is not known 
exactly what the series of victories cost the Germanic armies in 
casualties, but it is known that their successes were dearly bought. 
One fairly competent authority places the loss at between 120,000 
to 130,000. From May 2 to May 12, 1915, the forces of Von Mac- 
kensen, the Archduke Joseph Ferdinand, and Boroyevitch von 
Boyna claim to have captured 103,500 men, 69 guns, and 255 
machine guns. A retreating army must inevitably lose many of 
their number as prisoners, besides their wounded must also be 
abandoned. Furthermore, the Russian line of retreat led through 
rough and mountainous country, where large bodies of troops 
could not be kept in touch with each other. Thus it frequently 
happened that isolated detachments were captured en bloc with- 
out being able to offer any resistance. In the neighborhood of 
Sanok and the watering places of Rymanow and Ivonicz some 
of the biggest Russian base hospitals were situated. These, of 
course, could not have been evacuated in time, and the patients 
consequently swelled the number of prisoners. Most of the guns 
captured by the Austro-Germans were those of the Russian troops 
whose retreat from northern Hungary and the passes had been 


They often sacrificed large bodies of troops to save their guns. 
The lack of artillery was the main cause of their defeat; what 
little they could save from the wreck was therefore husbanded 
with jealous care. The German staff accurately calculated on the 
preponderance of heavy artillery, and that Russia would be com- 
pelled to bow low before the superior blast of cannon fire. 
Though it involved the sacrifice of many miles of territory, it 
was now the Russian object to draw the enemy's line out to the 
fullest extent. After the retreat from the Wistok the Russian 
Generalissimo, Grand Duke Nicholas, was concerned only to save 
the most for his country at the greatest expense to her enemies. 
It meant continual retreat on a gigantic scale. Przemysl, cap- 
tured ten weeks ago, lay behind Ivanoff 's line, and Lemberg was 
but sixty miles beyond. Two hundred miles northward the Ger- 
mans were hammering at the gates of Warsaw. A retreat such 
as the grand duke contemplated might involve the loss of all 
three of these places, but it would stretch the Germanic lines 
enormously and enable the Allies in the west to strike with better 
effect. No territorial considerations must stand in the way 
against the safety of the Russian armies. It was the same policy 
that had crippled Napoleon in 1812. 



N order to keep the narrative abreast of the steadily advanc- 
ing Austro-German line, we must change occasionally from 
me sector to another to watch the progress of operations over 
le huge battle field. In accordance with the details laid down 
in the great strategic plan, each of the different Germanic forces 
had a distinct task to perform. Turning then to eastern Galicia 
and the Bukowina, we find that on May 1, 1915, the Austro- 
Hungarian and Russian armies were facing each other along 


almost the same front where we left them in the middle of March. 
That front extended to the north of Nadvoma and Kolomea, by 
Ottynia across to Niczviska on the Dniester, and from there east- 
ward along the river toward Chotin on the Russian frontier of 

By the beginning of May, 1915, the spring floods had subsided, 
when operations became again possible. General Lechitsky, on 
the Russian side, probably aimed at recovering the Pruth Valley, 
while the Austrian commander. General von Pflanzer-Baltin, 
directed his efforts to establishing himself on the northern bank 
of the Dniester. He would then be able to advance in line with 
the Germanic front that was pressing on from the west, and 
northward from the Carpathian range between Uzsok and the 
Jablonitza passes; otherwise his force would lag behind in the 
great drive, a mere stationary pivot. At that time he held about 
sixty miles of the Odessa-Stanislau railroad (which runs through 
the valley via Czemovice and Kolomea) with the Russians only 
twenty miles north of the line. If that position could be taken 
the Austrians would have the South Russian line of communica- 
tions in their hands, for it was along this line that supplies and 
reenforcements were being transported to Ivanoff 's front on the 
Wisloka from the military centers at Kiev and Sebastopol. Thus 
the railway was of tremendous importance to both belligerents. 
What it meant to the Austrians has been stated ; to the Russians 
its possession offered the only opportunity for a counteroffensive 
in the east that could possibly affect the course of the main op- 
erations on the Wisloka, San, and later the Przemysl lines. But 
however successful such a counteroffensive might prove, it could 
not have exerted any immediate influence on the western front. 
With the Transylvania Carpathians protecting the Austro-Ger- 
man eastern flank, there would still be little hope of checking the 
enemy's advance on Lemberg even if Lechitsky succeeded in 
reconquering the whole of the Bukowina and that part of eastern 
Galicia south of the Dniester. Every strategic consideration, 
therefore, pointed to the Dniester line as the key to the situation 
for the Austrian side, and Von Pflanzer-Baltin decided to stake 
all on the attempt. 




On May, 6, 1915, the machine was set in motion by a violent 
bombardment. By the 8th the Austrians captured the bridge- 
head of Zaleszczyki; on the 9th the Russians drove them out 
again, capturing 500 men, 3 big guns, 1 field gun, and a number 
of machine guns. On May 10 the Russians took the initiative 
and attacked a front of about forty miles, along the entire 
Dniester line from west of Niczviska to Uscie Biskupic, crossed 
into the Bukowina and advanced to within five miles of Czemo- 
witz from the east. A little stream and a village both named 
Onut are situated southwest of Uscie Biskupic. Here a detach- 
ment of Don Cossacks distinguished themselves on May 10, 1915. 
Advancing toward the Austrian wire entanglements in face of a 
terrific fusilade, they cut a passage through in front of the 
Austrian's fortified positions. Before the latter realized what 
was happening the Cossacks were on top of them, and in a few 
minutes a ferocious bayonet struggle had cleared out three lines 
of trenches. Russian cavalry poured in after them, hacking the 
Austrian's rear, and compelling them to evacuate the entire 
district. The Cossacks charged into the hurriedly retreating 
masses — on horse and on foot, with saber, lance, and bayonet, 
capturing 4,000 prisoners, a battery of machine guns, several 
caissons and searchlight apparati. 

The entire northern bank of the Dniester was in Russian 
possession by the night of May 10, 1915; several desperate 
counterattacks attempted by the Austrians on the 11th com- 
pletely failed to recover the lost ground. Two days later a Rus- 
sian official reported: "In this operation the Austrian units 
which led the offensive were repulsed near Chocimierz with heavy 
losses. Our artillery annihilated two entire battalions and a 
third surrendered. Near Horodenka the enemy gave way about 
seven o'clock in the evening of the same day and began a dis- 
orderly retreat. We again captured several thousand prisoners, 
guns, and some fifty ammunition caissons." Being a junction 
of six roads and a railway station on the curved line from 
Kolomea to Zaleszczyki, Horodenka is considered to be the most 
important strategic point along the Dniester-Czernowitz front. 
It was undoubtedly a severe blow to the Austrians. 



During the night of May 11, 1915, and the next day they 
evacuated a front of about eighty-eight miles, and retired south 
of the Pruth. General Mishtchenko led his Cossacks on the 
Austrian trail, taking several towns on their way to Nadvorna, 
which they captured after a fierce fight. From here they took 
possession of part of the railway line from Delatyn to Kolomea, 
and completely severed the connection between Von Pflanzer- 
Baltin's forces and those of Von Linsingen lying along the north 
of the range. Larger bodies of Russian troops were on the way 
to Kolomea ; on May 13, 1915, they stormed and carried some 
strongly fortified Austrian positions eight miles north of the 
town, in front of which the Austrians had placed reenforcements 
and all their last reserves. By dint of great efforts they held 
their position here, but from May 9 to May 14, 1915, the Russians 
drove them back elsewhere on a front of over sixty miles for a 
distance of about twenty miles, also capturing some 20,000 pris- 
oners with many guns and valuable stores of munitions. About 
the middle of May matters quieted down in the eastern sector; 
the only fighting of importance consisted of severe artillery com- 
bats around Czemowitz and Kolomea. The issue of the conflict 
hung in the west with Von Mackensen's armies ; fighting in the 
Bukowina at this stage became an unnecessary expenditure of 
strength and energy. The fate of eastern Galicia was being 
decided 140 miles away, on the banks of the River San, to which 
region we will now direct the reader's attention. 



AFTER the Russian troops retreated from the Lower Wisloka 
- northward toward the confluence of that river with the 
Vistula they held the two important bridgeheads of Sandomierz 
and Rozvadov. 


On May 14, 1915, Ivanoff' s right was being forced toward the 
Vistula in the vicinity of Opatow. This right wing was the army 
under General Ewarts, which since December, 1914, had been 
stationed in strongly fortified positions on the Nida in Russian 
Poland. The front extended across the frontier into western 
Galicia and joined on to the right wing of Dmitrieff' s Dunajec- 
Biala front, which was shattered between Otfinow and Gorlice. 
The retreat of Dmitrieff' s army was in an easterly direction along 
Tamow, Pilzno, Dembica, Rzeszow, and Lancut to Przevorsk on 
the San ; from the region of Gorlice and Ciezkovice along Biecz, 
Jaslo, Frysztak, Krosno to Djoiow, Dubiecko, and Sanok, the 
latter also on the San. The troops that Brussilov extricated from 
the passes and those with which he held the northern part of the 
western Carpathians against Boehm-Ermolli were now likewise 
concentrated on the San. A glance at the map will show that 
the Russian front on the San from Przevorsk down to Sanok 
forms a shield between the Germanic advance and the two towns 
of Jaroslav and Przemysl. It will also be observed that General 
Ewarts's forces about Rozvadov are on the west side of the San, 
that is to say, nearer toward the advancing Austrians under the 
Archduke Joseph Ferdinand. 

The retreat in Galicia necessitated modifications in the Russian 
front in Poland on the way to Warsaw. The line south of the 
Pilica had to be withdrawn and positions on the Nida abandoned 
to conform with the retreating line in Galicia. New positions 
were taken up along Radom and across the Kamienna River. 
The pivot or hinge from which the line was drawn back was the 
town of Ivanlodz, about fifty-five miles southwest of Warsaw. 
North of Ivanlodz the front remained unaltered. While this line 
shifting was in progress (in Poland) the German troops hung 
closely to the heels of the retiring Russians, evidently mistaking 
the motive behind the change of position. Mr. Stanley Wash- 
burn thus summarizes the results of these retreating battles : 

"Regarding the movement as a whole, suffice it to say that in 
the two weeks following the change of line one (Russian) army 
inflicted upon the enemy a loss of nearly 30,000 in killed, 
wounded, and prisoners. The Russian losses were comparatively 


trifling." The Austro-German forces were following up leisurely 
the retreating Russian corps, not expecting any serious fighting 
to occur until the lines behind the Kamienna were reached. 

Instead of that, however, on May 15, 1915, the Russian com- 
mander suddenly halted the main body of his troops in front of 
his fortified positions on a line extending from Brody by Opatow 
toward Klimontow. Between May 15-17, 1915, a battle developed 
on this front, which is the more notable as it is one of the few in 
this war fought in the open without trenches. To quote Mr. 
Washburn : "In any other war it would have been called a good- 
sized action, as from first to last more than 100,000 men and 
perhaps 350 to 400 guns were engaged." 

The Austro-Germans came on in four groups. The Third Ger- 
man Landwehr was moving from the southwest by Wierzbnik 
against Ilza, slightly to the north of Lubienia. Next to it, com- 
ing from the direction of Kielce, was the German Division of 
General Bredow, supported by the Eighty-fourth Austrian Regi- 
ment. This body was advancing against Ostroviec, the terminus 
of a railway which runs from the district of Lodz to the south- 
east by Tomaszow and Opoczno, and crosses the Ivangorod- 
Olkusz line haffway between Kielce and Radom. Farther to the 
south three Austro-Hungarian divisions were also advancing — 
namely, the Twenty-fifth Austrian Division against Lagow, and 
the Fourth Austrian Landwehr Division, supported by the Forty- 
first Honved Division, against Ivaniska ; they moved along roads 
converging on Opatow. The Twenty-fifth Austrian Division, 
commanded by the Archduke Peter Ferdinand, was composed of 
crack regiments, the Fourth Hoch and Deutschmeisters of 
Vienna, and the Twenty-fifth, Seventeenth, and Tenth Jager 
battalions. The Russians were outnumbered about 40 per cent. 
The supposedly demoralized Russians were not expected to give 
any battle short of their fortified line, to which they were thought 
to be retiring in hot haste. The Russian general selected the 
Austrians on whom to spring his first surprise, but commenced 
by making a feint against the German corps, driving in their 
advanced guards by vigorous attacks which caused the whole 
force to halt and begin deployment for an engagement. 


This occurred on May 15, 1915. On the same day, with all 
his available strength, he swung furiously with Opatow as an 
axis from both north and south, catching in bayonet charge the 
Twenty-fifth Division on the road between Lagow and Opatow. 
Simultaneously another portion of his command swept up on the 
Fourth Division coming from Ivaniska to Opatow. "In the mean- 
time a strong force of Cossacks had ridden round the Austrians 
and actually hit their line of communications at the exact time 
that the infantry fell on the main column with a bayonet charge, 
delivered with an impetuosity and fury that simply crumpled up 
the entire Austrian formation. The Fourth Division was meet- 
ing a similar fate farther south, and the two were thrown to- 
gether in a helpless mass, losing between 3,000 and 4,000 casual- 
ties and nearly 3,000 in prisoners, besides a large number of 
machine guns and the bulk of their baggage. The remainder, 
supported by the Forty-first Honved Division, which had been 
hurried up, managed to squeeze themselves out of their predica- 
ment by falling back on Uszachow, and the whole retired to 
Lagow, beyond which the Russians were not permitted to pursue 
them, lest they should break the symmetry of their own line." It 
is admitted by the Austrians themselves that their losses were 
very severe in this battle. An Austrian source at the time stated 
that on May 16, 1915, not a single officer and only twenty-six 
men were left of the entire Fourth Company, First Battalion of 
the Tenth Austrian Infantry Regiment. By the 17th of May the 
Austrians had withdrawn more than twelve miles from the scene 
of the disaster. 

During the following night. May 25, 1915, an Austrian divi- 
sion was moving from the line of advance of General Bredow's 
troops along the Lagow-Opatow road where it is separated by a 
spur of the Lysa Gora, the highest mountain group in Russian 
Poland. The Russians, elated over their recent victory, crossed 
the mountains by a forced march, and fell on the right flank of 
the German formation, while other troops opened a general 
frontal attack against it. Bredow was compelled to fall back in 
haste in the direction of Bodzentyn and to call for assistance 
from the adjoining Fourth German Landwehr Division. The 


sudden withdrawal of that division had the effect of weakening 
the German line southwest of Radom near the Radom-Kielce and 
the Konsk-Ostroviec railway crossings. The opportunity of 
thinning the enemy's line in that sector was too good to be lost, 
for a Russian communique of May 17, 1915, states that "near 
Gielniow, Ruski-Brod, and Suchedniov our sudden counterattacks 
inflicted severe losses on the enemy's advance guards." Having 
thus checked the German advance for the time being, the Rus- 
sians ceased from further troubling to await developments on the 



WHEN the Austro-German armies reached the line of the San 
on May 14, 1915, the battle for mid-Galicia was over, and a 
fresh chapter of the campaign opened with the battle of the San, 
which might more fittingly be described as the battle for 
Przemysl. The position of Ivanoff's right has been shown; his 
right center lay west of the Lower San; the center east of the 
river covered Przemysl ; his left center extended along the Upper 
Dniester, while his left, under Lechitsky, was keeping Von 
Pflanzer-Baltin employed. Von Mackensen's "phalanx" was 
slowly coming into action again, directing its course toward the 
Russian center. The "phalanx" was compelled to travel slowly, 
for it carried about 2,000 pieces of artillery with ample muni- 
tions, and the railroads had been wrecked by the retreating Rus- 
sians. What has been described by military writers as "Von 
Mackensen's phalanx" was a concentration of troops along the 
lines on which the strongest resistance was expected or where 
the quickest advance was intended. No special group of forces 
appear to have been set apart for that purpose ; there was very 
little shifting about or regrouping necessary during the cam- 
paign, and so well was the plan arranged that the concentrations 
occurred almost automatically wherever and whenever they were 


most needed. The infantry marched in successive lines or 
echelons, about forty yards apart, while in the ranks the men 
were allowed about four feet elbow room apiece. For frontal 
attacks this might be considered fairly close formation, but Von 
Mackensen calculated more upon the disintegrating effect of his 
artillery to first demoralize the enemy and wreck his position, 
after which the infantry came into play to complete the destruc- 
tion. Without an overwhelming supply of artillery the "phalanx" 
plan would have been unworkable — ^machine guns would exact 
too heavy a sacrifice of Hfe. 

Ivanoff's chief object for the moment was to hold the enemy 
in check long enough to allow Przemysl to be cleared of ammuni- 
tions and supplies, and to withdraw the troops in possession of 
the place. Already, on May 14, 1915, the German troops of Von 
Mackensen's army had occupied Jaroslav, only twenty-two miles 
north of the fortress. Ivanoff had concentrated his strongest 
forces on the line between Sieniava, north of Przevorsk, and 
Sambor, thirty miles southeast of Przemysl. Here he had de- 
ployed the three armies which had held the entire front from the 
Biala to Uzsok in the beginning of May, 1915, nearly twice as 
long as the line they were now guarding. These were to fight a 
holding battle on the center while he adopted a series of vigorous 
counterthrusts on his right and left wings. By the retirement of 
the center Ewarts had been compelled to fall back from the Nida 
to the Vistula with Woyrsch's Austrian army against him. When 
Ewarts dropped behind Kielce in Russian Poland, Woyrsch 
seized the junction of the branch line to Ostroviecs in front of 
the Russian line. Ivanoff decided to venture a counterattack 
which would at the same time relieve the pressure on his center 
and also check the move on Josefov, dangerously near to the 
Warsaw-Ivangorod-Lublin line. The result of this plan was the 
brilHant surprise attack on the Austrians and Germans previ- 
ously described. Along the San the troops just south of Ewarts 
delivered a fierce attack and drove the Archduke Ferdinand back 
to Tamobrzeg on the Vistula. Ivanoff next drew as many reen- 
forcements from that flank to strengthen his center as was com- 
patible with safety. What had happened meanwhile on Ivanoff 's 


extreme left — in eastern Galicia and the Bukowina — has already 
been stated. These counterattacks may be regarded as merely 
efforts to gain time, but the hour of another great battle was at 

The battle of the San, one of the greatest of the war, opened 
on May 15, 1915. Jaroslav was in German hands; the Fourth 
Austro-Hungarian Army (Archduke Joseph Ferdinand) reached 
the western side of the San on the 14th ; by the 16th the Austro- 
German armies held almost the entire left bank of the river from 
Rudnik to Jaroslav, about forty miles. They crossed at several 
points on the same day and enlarged their hold on the right bank 
between Jaroslav and Lezachow near Sieniava, which they cap- 
tured. A German division arrived at Lubaczovka, due north of 
Jaroslav, and half of the Germanic circle around Przemysl was 
now drawn. The German plan was an advance in force from 
the Sieniava-Jaroslav front against the Przemysl-Lemberg rail- 
way, the most vulnerable point of the Russian line of retreat from 
the fortress. Fifteen bridges were accordingly erected over the 
San in that sector between May 20-24, 1915, across which the 
German battering ram was to advance on Przemysl. South of 
E,the town mounted patrols came into touch with Russian cavalry ; 
four Austro-Hungarian and one German army corps were stand- 

Lg prepared between Dobromil and Sambor; Sambor was oc- 
cupied by them. The Russians held the left bank close to the 
iver from Sieniava to Jaroslav, and northward of the former 
ind to the west as far as Tarnobrzeg. From Jaroslav their front 
ran in almost a straight line for thirty miles southeastward to 
^the outer and northern forts around Przemysl, described nearly 
complete circle around the western and southern forts to 

[osciska on the east, thence south to Sambor, and from Sambor 
Stryj. From Stryj eastward to the Bukowina the line re- 

lained unaltered. In that region Lechitsky and Von Pflanzer- 

taltin had been conducting a campaign all by themselves; they 

rere now resting, waiting, watching. 
While great Germanic preparations for the capture of Przemysl 
were proceeding north of the town, the battle opened on Satur- 
day, May 15, 1915, in the south, against the Russian front be- 


tween Novemiasto and Sambor. Here the Austro-German troops 
were thrown against Hussakow and Krukenice to hack their 
way through trenches and barbed-wire entanglements in order 
to reach the Przemysl-Lemberg railway and thereby complete the 
circle. "At the cost of enormous sacrifices the enemy succeeded 
in capturing the trenches of our two battalions." 

But on May 17, 1915, these trenches near Hussakow were 
recaptured by the Russians. The Austrians returned to the 
charge, however, and by May 19 were within six miles of 
Mosciska. By May 21 they had overcome the main Russian de- 
fenses to the east of Przemysl and were threatening the garri- 
son's line — their only line — of retreat to Grodek, for other Ger- 
manic forces were advancing upon Mosciska from the north. 

On May 21, 1915, the Russians opened a sudden counteroffen- 
sive along the whole line in a desperate effort to save, not the 
fortress, but the garrison. The Austrians had destroyed most of 
the forts before they surrendered the town on March 22; and 
forts cannot be built or reconstructed in a few weeks. Besides, 
the Austrians knew the ground too well. Von Mackensen's 
"phalanx" was meanwhile advancing against the Jaroslav- 
Przemysl front with Von Bojna's corps on his right; Boehm- 
Ermolli deserted the passes which had so long occupied him and 
was now pressing against the south of the town while Von 
Marwitz on his right attempted to seize the railway between 
Sambor and Dobromil. Von Linsingen was forging ahead toward 
Stryj and the Dniester; he had finally worked through the ill- 
fated Koziova positions, and was now able to rest his right upon 
Halicz. From there his connection with Von Pflanzer-Baltin 
had been broken by Lechitsky, and was not repaired till June 6, 

The Russian counteroffensive was a homeopathic remedy, on 
the principle of "like curing like:" an enveloping movement 
against being enveloped themselves at Przemysl; but the case 
was hopeless. Yet they met with some successes of a temporary 
nature. Between the Vistula and the San they captured some 
towns and villages; they also got very close to Radava, north 
of Jaroslav, and forced the Austro-Germai? troops to fall back 


on ro the left bank of the river on a considerable line of front 
north of Sieniava, where they captured many prisoners and 

The counteroffensive reached its zenith on May 27, 1915, when 
Irmanow's Caucasian Corps stormed Sieniava and captured 
something like 7,000 men, six big guns, and six pieces of field 
artillery. Von Mackensen resumed the offensive on May 24, by 
advancing due east of Jaroslav, capturing Drohojow, Ostrov, 
Vysocko, Makovisko and Vietlin all in one day. Radymno was 
occupied by the Austro-Hungarians under General Arz von 
Straussenburg, still further narrowing the circle and compelling 
the Russians to fall beyond the San. On the twenty-fifth the 
Austrians followed them over, captured the bridgehead of 
Zagrody, the village of Nienovice and the Heights of Horodysko, 
while Von Mackensen's troops farther north captured Height 
241. South of the village of Naklo, between Przemysl and 
Mosciska, a hill 650 feet high was violently attacked; it com- 
manded the only line of retreat from the fortress still left open. 
To the south of the town the Russian counteroffensive tried to 
outflank the Austrian troops which had approached close to the 
fortress and the railroad to Lemberg. With the assistance of 
strong reenforcements the Russians were able to check the 
advance here and make 2,200 prisoners, besides capturing am- 
munitions and machine guns. 



THE counteroffensive ended — of necessity — on May 24, 1915. 
The Russians could still offer an effective resistance between 
Krukienice and Mosciska, but the pressure of continuous attack 
against their positions around Hussakow grew fiercer every 
hour. The enemy was knocking at the outer ring of the forts; 
from the west the heaviest cannons were pouring shot and shell 


with such violence that the fall of Przemysl could no longer be 
prevented. Most of the troops had already been withdrawn, as 
well as the supplies and munitions; only a small garrison re- 
mained behind to man the guns of the forts to the last moment; 
the little avenue to safety on the east was still open. 

On May 30, 1915, the Austrian batteries began their deadly 
work on the Grodek line near Medyka. The exit was under fire ; 
since May 17, Przemysl had been invested from three sides, and 
the fourth was all but closed. From the northern side, guarded 
by the Bavarians under General Kneusel, twenty-one centimeter 
Krupp howitzers bombarded the Russian positions round 
Korienice and Mackovice, drawing ever nearer the forts com- 
manding the road and railway to Radymno. The Tenth Austro- 
Hungarian Army Corps, approaching froml Krasiczyn, 
endeavored to rush some of the outer works, but paid heavily 
for the venture. They settled down before the forts of Pralko- 
t^ice, Lipnik, Helicha and Grochovce, and those round Tatarovka 
mountain. General Artamoff, the Russian commander of 
Przemysl, had laboriously reconstructed some of the old Aus- 
trian forts and equipped them with Russian 12-centimeter 
howitzers. As the Austrians had brought only their 15- 
centimeter howitzers, they were obliged to wait until their 30.5 
batteries arrived before they could undertake any serious attack. 

These batteries came on the scene about May 25, 1915, it took 
five days' preparation, and the final bombardment began on the 
30th. It was an ironical circumstance that the Austrians and 
Germans were in numerous places sheltering themselves behind 
the very earthworks which the Russians had constructed when 
they were besieging the place two months earlier. There had 
been no time to destroy them on the retreat. 

The northern sector of the outer ring of forts fell on May 30, 
1915, when the Bavarians captured the Russian positions near 
Orzechovce. A terrific bombardment was directed against the 
entire northern and northwestern front; great columns of in- 
fantry were pushed forward to finish the cannons' work — still 
the Russians hung on, ever bent on doing all possible damage 
to the enemy. 

••iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii I mill iiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii I iiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiir 



During the night of May 30-31, 1915, the enemy succeeded 
in approaching within 200 paces, and at some points even in 
gaining a footing in the precincts of Fort No. 7, around which 
raged an obstinate battle that lasted until two in the after- 
noon of the 31st, when he was repulsed after suffering 
enormous losses. The remnants of the enemy who had entered 
Fort No. 7, numbering 23 officers and 600 men, were taken 

Since the 20th of May, 1915, the clearing of the road had 
been going on; Von Mackensen battering the western forts and 
the river line as far as Jaroslav, and Boehm-Ermolli struggling 
to force the southern comer to get within range of the Lem- 
berg railway. On his right. Von Marwitz had become stuck in 
the marshes of the Dniester between Droholycz and Komarno. 
The Bavarians on the north again let fly their big guns against 
the forts round Dunkoviczki on May 31, 1915. At four in the 
afternoon they ceased fire ; the forts and defenses were crumpled 
up into a shapeless mass of wreckage. Now Prussian, Bavarian 
and Austrian regiments rushed forward to storm what was left. 
They still found some Russians there, severely mauled by the 
bombardment; but they could no longer present a front. They 
retreated behind the ring. The Tenth Austro-Hungarian Army 
Corps now made another attempt on Pralkovice and Lipnik. Von 
Mackensen's men captured two trenches near Fort No. 11 — 
"they had to pay a heavy price in blood for every yard of their 
advance." Heavy batteries are also spitting fire against Forts 
Nos. 10 and 12. When the curtain of night fell over the scene 
of carnage and destruction, two breaches had been made in the 
outer ring of the forts. 

June 2, 1915, dawned — a bright, warm summer's day ; the sun 
rose and smiled as impassively over the Galician mountains, 
and valleys, and plains as it had smiled through countless ages 
before the genius of man had invented even the division of time. 
From all sides of the doomed fortress eager, determined men 
were advancing; Fort No. 10 was captured at noon by the 
Twenty-second Bavarian Infantry Regiment; later in the day the 
Prussian Grenadier Guards took possession of Fort No. 12; 


during the night the besieger's troops marched into the village 
of Zuravica, within the outer ring. Austrian troops had broken 
through from the southwest and also penetrated the inner circle. 

June 3, 1915, dawned and again the sun smiles over Galicia 
and sees the same iron belt of machinelike men still nearer the 
fortress; but the haggard defenders, where are they? Gone! 
Flown! They have vanished during the night. Austrians and 
Bavarians march into the town early in the morning. The only 
enemies they meet are the dead. 

Przemysl has fallen again — fallen before twenty times as 
powerful a blow as that which struck it down seventy-two days 

Before proceeding with the progress of Von Mackensen and 
his mighty ''phalanx," let us briefly trace the progress of Von 
Linsingen, whom we left on the road to Stryj and the Dniester, 
or rather, attempting to force that road. While the forts of 
Przemysl were being smashed in the north. Von Linsingen was 
pounding and demolishing the Russian positions between 
Uliczna and Bolechov. Heavy mortars and howitzers were at 
the same time being placed into position in front of the Russian 
trenches between Holobutow and Stryj. 

On May 31, 1915, they began to roar, and before long the 
trenches were completely pulverized — ^the very trenches that 
thousands of Germans and Austrians had died in in vain attempts 
to carry by assault. The Thirty-eighth Hungarian Honved Divi- 
sion were sent to finish the work of clearance and take possession 
of Stryj. The entire Russian line withdrew to the Dniester, step 
by step, ever fighting their favorite rear guard actions, killing 
and capturing thousands of their enemies. They retired behind 
the Dniester, but maintained their hold on any useful strategical 
position south of the river, so far as was possible without im- 
periling the continuity of their line. 

We must also consider two more Austro-German sectors in 
order to bring the combatants stationed there into line with the 
Germanic advance — the Uzsok Pass and the Bukowina-ct^m- 
Eastem Galicia sectars. In the former the army of Vop 
Szurmay stood beside that of Von Linsingen opposite the Ninth 


Russian Army. Von Szurmay led his men out of the pass and 
advanced northward on May 12, after the fall of Sanok had 
forced the Russians away from their positions in the vicinity of 
it. Their line of retreat was threatened by the Austrian ap- 
proach to Sambor. 

On May 16, 1915, Von Szurmay moved across the upper Stryj 
near Turka and passed along secondary roads in the direction 
of the oil districts of Schodnica, Drohobycz and Boryslav, arriv- 
ing on May 16-17, 1915. Von Linsingen's troops had started 
their advance on the same day as those of Von Szurmay, when 
the Russians round Koziowa had to retire for the purpose of 
keeping in touch with their line : the same pressure that Sambor 
exerted on the Uzsok. Here again the Russians adopted rear- 
guard tactics and considerable fighting occurred during their 
retreat to Stryj and Bolechow, both of which were eventually 
captured by Von Linsingen. 

In Eastern Galicia and the Bukowina matters had come almost 
to a standstill between Lechitsky and Von Pflanzer-Baltin about 
the middle of May, 1915. When the former had cut the latter's 
connection with the main line, the brigade of General von Blum 
and other adjoining German troops on the extreme right 
of Von Linsingen tried hard to relieve the pressure of Lechitsky 
on the Austrian forces. Not till after the fall of Przemysl was 
the connection restored, when the Russians had to fall back from 
Kalusz and Nadvoma; on June 9 they evacuated Obertzn, 
Horodenka, Kocman and Sniatyn. Lechitsky was also com- 
pelled to withdraw from the Bukowina between Zaleszczyki, 
Onut, and Czernowitz, where the Austrians were moving along 
the Dniester in the north, the Pruth in the south, and over the 
hills in the center against the village of Szubraniec. Here the 
Russians once more inflicted servere losses on the Austrians, but 
being in danger from a flanking movement by the Forty-second 
Croatian Infantry through the Dniester forests, they retired 
from the Bukowina on to Russian territory on June 12, 1915. 




THE capture of Przemysl and of Stryj terminates the second 
stage of the Austro-German offensive in Galicia. The third 
stage may be described as the battle for Lemberg, or Lwow. 
Lemberg is the ancient capital of Galicia, and formerly bore the 
name of Lwow. The Austrians many years ago had changed 
it to "Lemberg." When the Russians captured the town on 
September 3, 1914, they had given it back the old Slavonic name, 
which, however, was destined soon to be transformed back again 
into the more pronounceable appellation of "Lemberg." 

It is estimated that between April 28, 1915, and the recapture 
of Przemysl the Russian forces in Galicia had been diminished 
by at least a quarter of a million casualties. The heaviest losses 
occurred among Dmitrieff' s troops in the first days of May, 1915, 
but in the battles on the San, at the close of the month, the forces 
of Von Mackensen's "phalanx" were also greatly reduced. Along 
the entire Galician front, it is computed that quite 600,000 
Austro-German troops were put out of action. 

While the fight for Przemysl was in full swing an important 
event of the war occurred — Italy joined the enemies of Austria 
on May 3, 1915; the Dual Monarchy had now to defend her 
western frontier as well. Dankl and Von Bojna were transferred 
to the Italian front with a considerable portion of their Galician 
troops. A general redistribution of units was effected among 
the Austrian and German armies. The army of the Archduke 
Joseph Ferdinand was held along the lower San as far as 
Sieniava. Von Mackensen was advancing east of Jaroslav along 
the railway toward Rawa-Ruska. Boehm-Ermolli was fighting 
on the road to Lemberg from Mosciska. An army under Count 
Bothmer was operating near the Dniester marshes, beyond 
which, farther south, a group of armies under Von Linsingen 
(mainly German) had forced the passage of the Dniester at 
Zuravno, and was trying to advance on Lemberg and catch 


Ivanoff' s main forces on the flank. This last movement, if suc- 
cessful, would be the most effective method of crushing the 
retreating Russian armies : being thus outflanked, some of their 
lines of retreat would be cut and a dissolution of a large portion 
of the retiring forces could hardly have bden avoided. How- 
ever, all attempts in this direction failed. The Russians 
gradually rolled up their line on the Dniester from west to east, 
keeping step with the retreat of the armies which were facing 
west. With strong reenforcements from Kiev and Odessa 
Brussilov commanded the Dniester front under the direction of 
General Ivanoff. If only the ponderous advance of Von Macken- 
sen could have been arrested, Brussilov would have had little 
diflSculty in sweeping Voi^Linsingen back to the Carpathian bar- 
rier. A somewhat similar condition existed in the north, where 
the Austrians were at the mercy of Ivanoff's strong right wing. 
The archduke's front was smashed at Rudnik early in June, 
1915; his forces were driven back a day's march and lost 4,000 
men in prisoners, besides many guns. The Second, Third and 
Fourth Tyrolese regiments were almost annihilated. German 
troops were hurried to the rescue. Boehm-Ermolli also got into 
serious difficulties at Mosciska, where the Russians held him up 
for a week with a furious battle. Ivanoff was scoring points 
against all his individual opponents excepting only Von Mac- 
kensen. The "phalanx," always kept up to full strength by a 
continuous influx of reserves and provided with millions of high- 
explosive shells, not only pursued its irresistible course eastward, 
but had to turn now right, now left, to help Austrian and Ger- 
man commanders out of trouble. Heavy howitzers lumbered 
along the way to Rawa-Ruska — ^not to Lemberg, but to the north 
of it, on the flank of the Russian army still holding the Lower 
San. This army had therefore to retire northward to the river 
line of the Tanev stream, cautiously followed by the archduke's 
forces. The "phalanx" had again saved them from disaster. 
Similarly, at Mosciska, when Boehm-Ermolli tried to storm the 
Russian position by mass attacks, his infantry was driven back 
with such terrible punishment that they could not be induced to 
make another advance. There was nothing to be done here, but 


wait till Von Mackensen turned the flank of the Russian position 
for them, which he did in one of the most stubborn conflicts of 
the war— the battle of the Lubaczovka, a tributary of the San 
between Rawa-Ruska and Lemberg. Never were the fighting 
abilities of Slav and Teuton more severely tested. For over a 
week the struggle raged ; a half million men were brought up in 
groups and flung against the Russian front. Shell, shrapnel, 
bullets and asphyxiating bombs finally wore down the Russian 

Incapacitated by physical exhaustion and outnumbered by 
three to one, the Russian infantry gave way on June 13, 1915. 
The "phalanx" drove into their ranks and advanced rapidly in a 
northerly direction on its great flanking movement. But the 
Russian spirit was not broken, for at this critical moment Gen- 
eral Polodchenko rode out with three regiments of cavalry — the 
Don Cossacks, the Chernigov Hussars, and the Kimburn Dra- 
goons. They dashed into the unbroken lines of the triumphant 
German infantry like a living hurricane, sabered the enemy, and 
put thousands on the run. Swerving aside, they next charged 
deep into the German rear, mauled the reserves into confusion, 
hacked their way out again and captured several machine guns. 
The most remarkable feature about this extraordinary exploit 
was the fact that the losses sustained by the cavalry amounted 
only to 200 killed and wounded. The effect on the "phalanx," 
however, was such that no more attacks were made that day, and 
the Russians were able to retire to the hills near Rawa-Ruska. 
Ivanoff was now compelled to draw reenforcements from other 
parts of the line to strengthen his front at Rawa-Ruska. This 
meant weakening Ewarts's against the archduke and Brussilov 
against Boehm-Ermolh. The downfall of the Dunajec-Biala 
front had been attributed by the Russian War Staff to overcon- 
fidence or neglect on the part of General Dmitrieff, who was 
subsequently relieved of his command and replaced by General 
Lesch. At an official inquiry Dmitrieff was exonerated and re- 
instated on the reasonable ground that, whatever precautions of 
defense he might have taken, they would have proved ineffective 
against the preponderance of the German artillery. 


After the battle of Lubaczow the Russian line drew back about 
twenty miles. For the defense of Lemberg the front ran in a 
concave form from along the River Tanev, five miles from 
Rawa-Ruska, down to Grodek and Kolodruby ; then eastward be- 
hind the Dniester to Zuravno and Halicz. The marshes of the 
Dniester, then swollen by heavy rains, formed a good natural 
defense ; the intrenchments on the hills north of Grodek to Rawa- 
Ruska protected the approaches to Lemberg from that direction. 
The weakest spot lay around Janov, fifteen miles north of Grodek, 
where the level ground would permit the easy transport of heavy 
artillery. This position had been fortified with trenches and 
wire entanglements. Here also were concentrated the troops 
withdrawn from other parts of the line, and four armored trains 
with quick-firing guns from the depot at Rovno. General Ivanoff 
had no intention of making any decisive stand against the 
"phalanx" ; neither did he think of risking his armies in a battle 
for Lemberg. That town was certainly of great military and 
political importance — worth a dozen Przemysls — and worth 
fighting for. But for that he would need artillery in enormous 
quantity. Von Mackensen carried 2,500 guns with him, as well 
as siege trains of heavy howitzers. Ivanoff possessed none of 
these, and could therefore hope only to fight rear-guard actions 
while retiring before Von Mackensen. In any other part of the 
Galician line except the center he had little to fear. We left Von 
Linsingen forcing the Dniester at Zuravno. He got the bulk of 
his army across, the main advance commanded by Von Bothmer, 
who captured the northern heights and penetrated the forests 
near the Stryj-Tamopol railway. They were less than fifty miles 
from Lemberg. 

The "retreating" Brussilov suddenly turned round and fell on 
Von Bothmer's advance. The fight lasted three days, with the 
result that the Austro-Germans were obliged to fall back across 
the Dniester, leaving behind 2,000 killed and wounded, besides 
17 guns, 78 machine guns, 348 officers and 15,430 men as pris- 
oners, June 8-10, 1915. 

On June 11, 1915, however, the Germans renewed the attack 
on Zuravno, recaptured the town, and on June 12 were five miles 


north of it. By June 13 they had made ten miles, when Brus- 
silov lashed out again. Within two days the Germans were back 
on the Dniester. Von Mackensen had meanwhile concentrated 
a new series of heavy batteries around Jaroslav and formed a 
new "phalanx" (with reenf or cements) west of the San between 
Piskorovice and Radymno. Another attempt was preparing to 
break through Ivanoff's right wing. 

A violent bombardment began on June 12, 1915, and Austro- 
Hungarian troops crossed the river and occupied both Sieniava 
and Piskorovice. Next day the advance spread along the whole 
line, extending from Tarnoviec on the Zlota to the Radymnc 
Javorov road, pressing north and eastward against the Russian 
front. Pivoting on Sieniava, Von Mackensen swung his right 
toward Mosciska, which Von Marwitz captured on June 14, 1915. 
The same night the Archduke Joseph Ferdinand's entire army 
was slowly wheeling from the San toward the Tanev, facing 
due north. 

On June 16, 1915, the left of this line was already inside the 
borders of Russian Poland, and its right wing along the entire 
Tanev front. By June 16 numerous towns and villages were 
taken by the Germans. The Wolff Telegraphic Bureau an^- 
nounced that Von Mackensen's army had captured 40,000 men 
and 69 machine guns, which undoubtedly referred to all the 
Galician groups, for on June 12, 1915, Von Mackensen had 
"replaced" the Archduke Frederick as generalissimo of the 
Austro-Hungarian armies. The "phalanx" was pressing against 
Rawa-Ruska, Magierow, and Janov; Boehm-Ermolli against 
Grodek, part of which he captured by a midnight assault on 
June 16. In five weeks the Russian line or front in Galicia had 
shrunk from 300 miles to about 100. Before Dunajec, when it 
was united with the northern groups, it had represented the long- 
est battle line in the history of the world. 

The Russians began to evacuate Lemberg about June 17, 1915, 
the day Von Mackensen's right entered Javorov. On the 19th his 
advance guard was approaching Rawa-Ruska. Boehm-Ermolli 
was meanwhile undergoing severe punishment near Komarno, 
where an Austrian advance force endeavored to get through the 


Grodek Lakes. The Russian artillery drove them back ; for three 
days there were furious bayonet and cavalry charges and counter- 
charges; despite the most terrific bombardments the Austrian 
attacks were broken by the desperate Russians. On this occa- 
sion, at least, the Russians were well supplied with shells hur- 
riedly sent by rail from Kiev, which enabled them to repulse the 
Austrians on the lakes. Boehm-Ermolli is said to have lost half 
of his effectives in his attempt to penetrate through Grodek and 
Dornfeld, fifteen miles south of Lemberg. 

Von Mackensen again came to the rescue by making a great 
turning movement in the district of Zolkiev, about sixteen miles 
north of Lemberg, and attacking the Russian positions about 
Janov, forcing the Russians over the hills and the Rawa-Ruska 
railway to Zolkiev. His left wing, resting on Lubaczov, swung 
northward in a wheeling movement to envelop Rawa-Ruska. But 
the Russians intercepted the move; ferocious encounters and 
Cossack charges threw the Germans back to their pivot with 
heavy losses on both sides. Von Mackensen's center, however, 
was too strong, and Ivanoff desired no pitched battle — ^the only 
way to check its advance. He therefore fell back between Rawa- 
Ruska and Lemberg, yielding the former to Von Mackensen and 
the latter to Boehm-Ermolli, who was able to lead his battered 
troops into the town on June 22, 1915, without further resistance. 
Brussilov now had to withdraw from the Dniester. As at 
Przemysl, the Russian garrison departed with all stores and 
baggage before the victors arrived. Lemberg had been in Rus- 
sian possession for 293 days. 

A German attack near Rawa-Ruska was repulsed by the Rus- 
sians on June 25, 1915. For two days the "phalanx" rested to 
replenish its stock of shells; when these had arrived along the 
Przemysl line. Von Mackensen turned northward in the direction 
of Kholm on the Lublin-Brest-Litovsk railway. On his left 
marched the Austro-Hungarian army of the Archduke Joseph 
Ferdinand. These two armies drop out of the Galician cam- 
paign at this stage and become part of the great German offen- 
sive against the Polish salient. The gigantic enveloping move- 
ment had failed in the south ; it was now to be a^^empted against 


the Russian line in front of Warsaw, conducted by Von Hinden- 
burg and Von Gallwitz in the northern sector, and by Von Mac- 
kensen, assisted by General Woyrsch and Archduke Joseph 
Ferdinand, in the southern. These operations are described in 
the pages following. 

More than three-fourths of Galicia had now been reconquered, 
and it was left to the Austrians and the Germans to complete the 
conquest. The campaign was one of the greatest operations of 
the war. An English military writer thus describes the achieve- 
ment: "Only a most magnificent army organization and a most 
careful preparation, extending to infinite detail, could execute a 
plan of such magnitude at the speed at which it was done by the 
Austrian and German armies in May, 1915." 

Not yet, however, were the Russian armies destroyed; to the 
German War Staff it was not now a question of taking or retak- 
ing territory, but of striking a final and decisive blow at the 
vitals of Russia. The continuous series of reverses suffered by 
Boehm-Ermolli and Von Linsingen exerted an important effect on 
the end of the Galician campaign : it frustrated the plan of elim- 
inating the Russian forces. The battle lines in France and Flan- 
ders could wait a while till the Russian power was annihilated. 

After the fall of Lemberg, Ivanoff withdrew the main body of 
his troops toward the river line of the Bug, Boehm-Ermolli fol- 
lowing up behind. Again that unfortunate general was roughly 
handled — another of his divisions was annihilated southeast of 
Lemberg in a rear-guard action. Von Linsingen directed his 
efforts against the Gnila Lipa and Halicz, while Von Pflanzer- 
Baltin still operated on the Dniester. For many months the 
Russians and Austrians faced each other in eastern Galicia; 
they were still skirmishing at the end of the year. Both Russia 
and Austria had more important matters on hand elsewhere : the 
former against Germany in the north, and the latter with her 
new enemy — Italy. Galicia became a side issue. 

The Galician campaign will rank as one of the most instructive 
episodes in military history, an example of unparalleled calcula- 
tion, scientific strategy, and admirable heroism, involving, it is 
computed, the terrible sacrifice of at least a million human lives. 




THE battle known in the German official accounts as the 
"Winter Battle in Mazurian Land" is sometimes described 
as the "Nine Days* Battle." In this sense it is to be considered 
as beginning on the 7th of February, 1915, and ending on the 
16th, when the German Great Headquarters reported that the 
Tenth Russian Army, consisting of at least eleven infantry and 
several cavalry divisions, had been driven out of its strongly 
fortified positions to the east of the Mazurian Lake district, 
forced across the border, and, having been almost completely 
surrounded, had been crushingly defeated. In fact, however, 
fighting continued as part of the same action until the 21st of 
February, 1915, when the pursuit of the defeated army ended. 
The forces engaged in this titanic conflict were the Russian 
Tenth Army, consisting, according to the Russian version, of 
four corps, under General Baron Sievers, and the German East 
Prussian armies, under General von Eichhorn, operating on the 
north on the line Insterburg-Lotzen, and General von Billow on 
the line Lotzen-Johannisburg to the south of Von Eichhorn. 
Sources favorable to the Allies represent the strength of Gen- 
eral Sievers's army as 120,000 men. They assert that the total 
German force consisted of nine corps, over 300,000 men. Thes* 
are said to have included the Twenty-first Corps, which had been 
with the Crown Prince of Bavaria in the west; three reserve 
corps, also from the west ; the Thirty-eighth and Fortieth Corps, 


new formations, from the interior of Germany; the equivalent 
of three corps from other sections of the eastern front; and a 
reserve corps of the Guard. The German official description of 
the battle credits the Russians with having had in this sector 
of the battle front in East Prussia at the beginning of February 
six to eight army corps, or about 200,000 men. 

For months the heavy fighting in the east had centered on 
other sections of the immense battle line, running from the 
Baltic to the Carpathians. The second general Russian offen- 
sive, the great forward thrust of the Grand Duke Nicholas 
toward Cracow in the direction of Berlin, aimed through the 
center of the German defense, had been met, and the German 
counterthrust toward Warsaw had come to a standstill in the 
mud of Poland and before the stone-wall defensive of the Rus- 
sians on the Bsura and the Rawka. Attacks launched by the 
Russians against the East Prussian frontier, centering at Lyck, 
in January, 1915, seemed to forebode a fresh Russian offensive 
intended to sweep back the German armies in this section whose 
position on the Russian right wing was a continual threat to the 
communications of the Russian commander in chief. 

The Germans, disposing of comparatively weak forces, esti- 
mated at three army corps, were compelled to yield a strip of 
East Prussian territory, and had fallen back to positions of con- 
siderable natural strength formed by the chain of Mazurian 
Lakes and the line of the Angerapp River. They reported their 
forces standing on the defensive here as 50 per cent Landwehr, 
25 per cent Landsturm, and only 25 per cent other troops not 
of the reserve. Repeated attempts of the Russians to gain pos- 
session of these fortified positions had, however, broken down. 
They had been directed especially against the bridgehead o^ 
Darkehmen and the right wing of the German forces in th<J 
Paprodtk Hills. Wading up to their shoulders in icy water, the 
hardy troops of the Third Siberian Corps had attempted in vain 
to cross the Nietlitz Swamp, between the lakes to the east of 

At the beginning of February, 1915, finally Von Hindenburg 
had been able to obtain fresh German forces and to put them 


in position for an encircling movement against the Russians 
lying just to the east of the lakes, from near Tilsit to Johannis- 
burg. With the greatest secrecy the reenforcements, hidden 
from observation by their fortified positions, and the border 
forces maintaining the defense, were gathered behind the two 
German wings. The Russians apparently gained an inkling of 
the big move that was impending about the time the advance 
against their wings was under way. The first news of the open- 
ing of the battle came to the public in a Russian ofl[icial announce- 
ment of the 9th of February, 1915, to the effect that on the 7th 
the Germans had undertaken the offensive with considerable 
force in the Goldap-Johannisburg sector. The northern group 
of Germans began its movement somewhat later from the direc- 
tion of Tilsit. 

Extensive preparations had been made by the German leaders 
to meet the difficulties of a winter campaign under unfavorable 
weather conditions. Thousands of sleighs and hundreds of thou- 
sands of sleigh runners (on which to drag cannon and wagons), 
held in readiness, were a part of these preparations for a rapid 
advance. Deep snow covered the plain, and the lakes were 
thickly covered with ice. On the 5th of February, 1915, a 
fresh snowstorm set in, accompanied by an icy wind, which 
heaped the snow in deep drifts and made tremendously difficult 
travel on the roads and railways, completely shutting off motor 

The Germans on the south, in order to come into contact with 
the main Russian forces, had to cross the Johannisburg Forest 
and the Pisseck River, which flows out of the southernmost of 
the chain of lakes. The attacking columns made their way 
through the snow-clad forests with all possible speed, forcing 
their way through barriers o;f felled trees and driving the Rus- 
sians from the river crossings. 

Throughout the 8th of February, 1915, the marching columns 
moved through whirling snow clouds, the Germans driving their 
men forward relentlessly, so that, in spite of the drifted snow 
which filled the roads, certain troops covered on this day a dis- 
tance of forty kilometers. The Germans under General von 


Falck took Snopken by storm; those under General von Litz- 
mann crossed the Pisseck near Wrob^ln. The immediate objec- 
tives of these columns were Johannisburg and Biala, where 
strong Russian forces were posted. 

On the 9th the southern column, under Von Litzmann, was 
attacked on its right flank by Russians coming from Kolna, ta 
the south of them. The German troops repelled the attack, 
taking 2,500 prisoners, eight cannon, and twelve machine guns. 
General Saleck took Johannisburg, and Biala was cleared of the? 
Russians. The advance of these southern columns continued 
rapidly toward Lyck. 

The German left wing at the same time fell overwhelmingly 
on the northern end of the Russian line. On the 9th they took 
the fortified Russian positions stretching from Spullen to the 
Schorell Forest and nearly to the Russian border. They had 
here hard work to force their way through wire entanglements 
of great strength. Having noticed signs of a retreat on the part 
of their opponents, these German forces had on the preceding 
day begun the attack without waiting for the whole of their 
artillery to come up. The Russians retreated toward the 

Swinging forward toward the Russian border, the German 
left wing now exerted itself to the utmost to execute the sweep- 
ing encircling movement for which the strategy of Von Hinden- 
burg had become famous. The Russian right wing had been 
turned and was being pressed continually toward the southeast. 
The German troops rushed forward in forced marches, ignoring 
the difficulties which nature put in their way. By the 10th of 
February these columns reached the Pillkallen-Wladislavrow line, 
and by the 11th the main highway from Gumbinnen to Wilko- 
wyszki. The right wing, up to the capture of Stallupohnen, had 
taken some 4,000 prisoners, four machine guns, and eleven am- 
munition wagons. The center of this army, at the capture of 
Eydtkuhnen, Wirballen, and Kibarty, took 10,000 prisoners, six 
cannon, eight machine guns, numerous baggage wagons, includ- 
ing eighty field kitchens, three military trains and other roll- 
ing stock, a large number of gift packages intended for the 


Russian troops, and, of chief interest to the fighting men, a whole 
day's provisions. 

On the afternoon of February 10 some one and a half Rus- 
sian divisions had come to a halt in these three neighboring 
villages : Eydtkuhnen, Kibarty, and Wirballen. Although it was 
known that the Germans were approaching, it was apparently 
regarded by the Russians as impossible that pursuers would 
be able to come up with them in the raging snowstorm. So cer- 
tain were they of their security that no outposts were put on 
guard. Only thus could it happen that the Germans, who had 
not allowed the forces of nature to stop their advance, arrived 
right at the Russian position on the same day, though with 
infantry alone and merely a few guns, everything else having 
been left behind, stuck in the snowdrifts. 



TT was evening when the Germans made their surprise attack 
•^ on Eydtkuhnen and midnight when they fell upon Wirballen. 
On the roadway stood two Russian batteries with twelve guns 
and a considerable number of ammunition wagons. The Ger- 
man infantry approached without firing a shot until they were 
within fifty yards. Then all the horses were shot down and the 
guns and ammunition seized. The men of the battery fled. In 
both these towns there was street fighting in the night, lit up 
by burning houses which had been fired by the Russians in their 

One of the captured trains was the hospital train of the czar. 
This was utilized as headquarters for the night by the staff of 
General von Lauenstein. 

By the 12th of February, 1915, the German troops of the left 
wing, sweeping down from the north and pressing the Russians 
back from village to village, were entirely on Russian soil. Wiz- 


winy, Kalwarja, and Mariampol were occupied on this day. The 
number of guns taken by these troops had been increased by 
seventeen, according to German reports. The German Head- 
quarters Staff declared that by this time the Russian Seventy- 
third and Fifty-sixth Divisions had been as good as annihilated, 
and the Twenty-seventh division nearly destroyed. The Russians 
lying before the Angerapp line and the defenses of Lotzen had in 
the meantime also begun to retreat toward the east. German 
troops, consisting chiefly of reserves of the Landwehr and Land- 
sturm which up to this time had been held back within the Ger- 
man fortified line, now advanced to attack the yielding army, 
whose long marching column could be observed by the German 
flyers. While General von Eichhom's troops, coming from the 
neighborhood of Tilsit and making their way through snow and 
ice, were advancing upon Suwalki and Sejny, and the German right 
wing was fighting its way through Grajewo, toward Augustowo, 
the center of the troops of General von Billow for several days 
fought the Russians in furious battle in the vicinity of Lyck. 
From all sides the Germans were closing in. To protect the 
withdrawal of this main army to Suwalki and Augustowo, the 
Russians endeavored by all means to hold the narrows of the 
lakes before Lyck, where they were favored by the nature of 
the ground and aided by strong defensive works, for the most 
part well provided with wire entanglements. The best of the 
Russian troops, Siberian regiments, here fought with great 
energy under a determined leadership, and the Russians, in f act> 
at some places took the offensive. By the 12th of February, 
1915, however, the Germans had taken these positions and the 
Russians had withdrawn to the narrow passages among the lakes 
before Lyck. The battles around this town were carried on 
under the eye of the German Emperor. The German soldiers 
were still occupied in hunting through the houses for scattered 
Russians as the emperor stepped from his motor car. He was 
received with hurrahs, and the soldiers surrounded him, singing 
"Deutschland, Deutschland uber Alles." The emperor, standing 
amid the blackened ruins of burned homes, delivered a short 
address to the soldiers gathered about him, giving special recog* 


nition to Infantry Regiment No. 33, an East Prussian unit 
which had especially distinguished itself and suffered great 
losses. On the same day the Germans advanced beyond Lyck, 
and by the 15th of February no Russian remained on Ger- 
man soil. 



THE Russian right, retiring to avoid envelopment, sought the 
natural line of retreat along the railway to Kovno. In exe- 
cuting this movement it turned toward the northeast, and ex- 
ceeding in speed of movement the corps to the south of it, the 
Twentieth, under the command of General Bulgakov, the latter 
was left out of the line. In consequence its right wing was 
turned and it was pressed down toward the south with the enemy 
on three sides of it. It speedily became a broken force in the 
forest north of Suwalki. The Russians endeavored to reach 
the protection of their great fortress of Grodno. It was the 
task of the German division coming down from the north in 
forced marches to cut off this way of escape and prevent the 
Russians coming out of the forest toward the southeast. 

The march of these German troops carried them through 
great woodlands, amid frozen lakes, when suddenly a thaw set 
in. The sleighs which had been used had to be abandoned and 
wagons requisitioned on the spot wherever possible. 

An officer with these troops relates that infantrymen were 
sent forward on wagons, and on the night following the 15th 
of February took Sopozkin, to the east of Augustowo, on the line 
of the Russian retreat, capturing the baggage of an entire Rus- 
sian army corps. *The morning," he writes, "presented to us 
a unique picture. Hundreds of vehicles, baggage carts, machine 
guns, ammunition, provision and ambulance wagons stood in 
a vast disorder in the market place of the town and in the street, 

21— -War St. 3 


In between were hundreds of horses, some harnessed, some loose, 
dead Russians, dead horses, bellowing cattle, and sounding over 
it all the words of command of our troops endeavoring to create 
order in this mad mix-up, and to take care of the rich booty. 
Many an interesting find did we make — 'mementos' which the 
Russians had taken with them from Prussia and which now were 
to find their way back." 

A German commander tells how, in their efforts to cut off 
the Russian retreat, the artillery were compelled to cross many 
brooks running through deep gullies, so that it was necessary 
frequently to lower guns and wagons by means of ropes on one 
side and pull them up on the other. 

One of the German leaders, describing this encircling move- 
ment to the southeast from the north in which he played a part, 
says : "The roads and the weather were beyond all description — • 
twelve to fifteen degrees Reaumur, with a cutting wind and driv* 
ing snow, with nothing to eat, as the field kitchens on these 
roads could not follow. During pauses in the march one could 
but lean against the wall of a miserable house or lie down in the 
burned-out ruins, without straw to lie on and no covering. Men 
and horses sank to their hips in the snow, and so we worked 
our way forward, usually only about two kilometers an hour. 
Wagons and horses that upset had to be shoveled out of the 
drifts. It was a terrible sight, but we got through. We had 
to go on without regard for anything, and the example of the 
higher officers did much.'* 

Two Russian corps from the southern wing of the army re- 
treating by the Suwalki-Sejny causeway and by the Ossowetz 
Railway, according to accounts from Russian sources, made their 
way out of the trap under heavy rear-guard fighting. 

The escaped portions of the Russian army crossed the Bobr 
toward Grodno. From the direction of this Russian stronghold 
a desperate effort was made to relieve the four corps which 
were endeavoring to escape toward the fortress from the forest 
southeast of Augustowo into which they liad been pressed by 
the Germans from the west and north. On the 21st of February 
came the final act in the great drama. The German troops 


pushed forward at their best speed from all directions toward 
the forest. The help that had been intended for them came too 
late. Concerning the captures of this day, the German Great 
Headquarters reported: **0n the 21st of February the remnants 
of the Tenth Army laid down their arms in the forest of Angus* 
towo after all attempts of the Russian commander of this army, 
General Sievers, to cut a way out for the encircled four divisions 
by means of those parts of his army which remained to him 
after escaping over the Bobr to Grodno failed with extremely 
heavy losses." 

Summarizing the results of the entire battle in an announce- 
ment of the 22d of February, the German Great Headquarters 
said : "The pursuit after the winter battle in Mazurian Land is 
ended. In cleaning up the forests to the northwest of Grodno, 
and in the battles reported during the last few days in the region 
of the Bobr and the Narew, there have been captured to date 
one commanding general, two division commanders, four other 
generals, and in the neighborhood of 40,000 men, seventy-five 
cannon, a quantity of machine guns, whose number is not yet 
determined, and much other war material. 

"The total booty of the winter battle in Mazurian Land, there- 
fore, up to to-day rises to seven generals, more than 100,000 men, 
more than 150 cannon, and material of all sorts, inclusive of 
machine guns, which cannot yet be approximately estimated. 
Heavy guns and ammunition were in many cases buried by the 
enemy or sunk in the lakes ; thus eight heavy guns were yester- 
day dug out or hauled out of the water near Lotzen and Lake 

"The Tenth Russian Army of General Baron Sievers may, 
therefore, now be considered as completely annihilated." 

This summary was corrected in a later announcement, which 
stated that the number of guns taken as booty in the pursuit 
after the winter battle in Mazurian Land had risen to 300, 
including eighteen heavy guns. This was published on the 23d 
of February. In an announcement of the 26th of February the 
Great Headquarters amplified its account of the victory with this 
statement : 


"In the Russian official report the extent of the disaster in 
the winter battle of Mazurian Land is either concealed or an 
attempt is made to obscure it. It is unnecessary to go further 
into these denials. As evidence of the extent of the defeat, 
the following list of the positions held by the captured generals, 
however, may serve ; 

"Of the Twentieth Army Corps: the commanding general, 
the commander of the artillery, the commander of the Twenty- 
eighth and Twenty-ninth Infantry Divisions, and of the First 
Brigade of Infantry of the Twenty-ninth Infantry Division. The 
commander of this latter division succumbed to his wounds soon 
after being made prisoner. 

"Of the Third Army Corps: the commander of the Twenty- 
seventh Infantry Division and the commander of the artillery 
and of the Second Infantry Brigade of this division. 

"Of the Fifty-third Reserve Division : the division commander 
and the commander of the First Infantry Brigade. 

"Of the First Siberian Cossack Division: a brigade com- 

This brought the total of Russian generals captured up to 

This account of one of the greatest battles of the European 
War is necessarily based to a large extent on reports of the 
Germans, owing to the fact that material from this source is 
virtually the only official account available of the operation as 
a whole. The Russian General Staff has contented itself with 
the following announcement, made public on February 21, 1915 : 
"When the Germans, after a series of extraordinary obstinate 
and persistent attacks which caused them heavy losses, had rec- 
ognized the impossibility of pressing in our front on the left 
bank of the Vistula, they turned at the end of January to the 
execution of a new plan. After the creation of several new corps 
in the interior of the country, and the bringing up of troops 
from their west front, the Germans threw important forces into 
East Prussia. The transportation of troops was made easier 
by the extraordinarily developed net of railways which Germany 
has at its disposal. 


'The task of the new troops sent to East Prussia was to de- 
feat our Tenth Army, which held strongly constructed positions 
along the Angerapp. To assure the success of the undertaking 
the Germans brought a portion of their forces from the Bzura 
and Rawka fronts to the right bank of the Vistula. A movement 
of the Germans in East Prussia already became noticeable on the 
4th of February, 1915. But the extent of this movement could 
only be recognized a few days later. As our leaders, because of 
the lack of railroad lines, could not collect the necessary forces 
on the East Prussian front with the necessary speed to meet the 
hostile attack adequately, they decided to take back the above- 
mentioned army of East Prussia to the border. In this move- 
ment of the right wing the Tenth Army, which was pressed by 
heavy hostile forces and threatened with being surrounded from 
the right, was forced to make a rapid change of alignment in the 
direction of Kovno. In this rapid movement a corps was 
separated from the rest of the army. The other corps which con- 
tinued the battle obstinately without interruption, slowly drew 
back in the prescribed direction, bravely repelling the enemy and 
inflicting upon him heavy losses. Our troops overcame un- 
believable difficulties, which were caused by the snow which filled 
all roads. As the streets were impassable, automobiles could not 
run. Trains were delayed and frequently failed to arrive at 
their destination. Our corps which formed the left wing of the 
Tenth Army held the enemy, while drawing back step for 
step for nine days on a stretch of territory which ordinarily 
is covered in four days. On the 19th of February these corps 
withdrawing by way of Augustowo left the battle field and 
took the position assigned to them. Further battles devel- 
oped in the region before Ossowetz, on the roads from 
Lomza to Jedwabno and to the north of Radislow, also halfway 
between Plozk and Plonsk. These battles were in places very 

An English authority says: "The chief Russian loss was in 
General Bulgakov's Twentieth Corps, which the German staff 
asserted they had completely destroyed. But during the fort- 
night which ended on Saturday the 20th, at least half of that 


corps and more than two-thirds of its guns safely made their 
way through the Augustowo and Suwalki woods to the position 
which had been prepared for the Russian defense. The total 
Russian losses may have been 80 guns and 30,000 men ; they were 
no more. The two southern corps, in spite of their stubborn 
action at Lyck, crossed the woods between Augustowo and 
Ossowetz without serious disaster." 



THE shattering of the Tenth Russian Army in the "winter 
battle" of the Mazurian Lakes was part of a greater conflict 
which in February, 1915, extended far down the armies on the 
right flank of the great Russian battle line which ran from the 
Baltic to the Dniester. A "new gigantic plan" of the Slavs was 
involved. As interpreted by the German General Staff it meant 
that while the extreme northern wing of the Russian armies was 
to sweep westward through the projecting section of Germany, 
East Prussia, along the Baltic another Russian army was to 
advance in force from the south against the comer formed by 
West Prussia and the Vistula. With vast masses of cavalry in 
the van, it was to break through the boundary between Mlawa 
and Thorn, and pushing northward, come into the rear of those 
German forces which were facing eastward against the attack 
aimed at East Prussia from the northeast. For operations in 
this section the Russians had favorable railway connections. 
Two railways terminating at Ostrolenka permitted the rapid 
unloading of large masses of troops at this point, and the line 
Warsaw-Mlawa-Soldau led straight into the territory aimed at by 
such an invasion. It seemed easily credible that the Russian 
commander in chief did, as reported, give orders that Mlawa 
should be taken be the cost what it might. 


The northern Russian armies based upon the fortresses of 
Kovno and Grodno on the Niemen had not fully started on their 
part of this great, well-planned undertaking when the German 
counteroff ensive was suddenly launched with tremendous strength 
from the Tilsit-Insterburg-Mazurian Lakes line. The disaster 
which followed, and which banished all hope of an advance of the 
Russians on this wing, has been described on a preceding page« 
While the Germans, using to the best advantage their net of rail- 
roads for the swift accumulation of troops, had gathered large 
forces on the Mazurian Lakes line, they had at the same time 
strengthened the troops standing on the southern boundary of 
West and East Prussia. An artillery officer. General von Gall- 
witz, was placed in command of this army with orders to protect 
the right flank of the German armies attacking in Mazurian 
Land, and to prevent the expected Russian attempt at invasion 
in his own sector of the front. 

While the "winter battle" was raging to the east of him, Von 
Gallwitz in the characteristic German fashion of defense by a 
strong offensive moved forward up the right bank of the Vistula 
to Piozk. A cavalry division and regiments of the Guard at 
Sierpe and Racionz, February 12-18, 1915, won well-earned laurels 
for themselves by driving an enemy of superior strength before 
them. At Dobrin, according to German report, they took 2,500 

General von Gallwitz's plan, however, was of more ambitious 
scope. It was his intention, by encircling the Russians in the 
territory before him from both wings, to sweep clear of enemies 
the entire stretch of country in the Polish triangle between the 
Vistula and the Orczy rivers. The right wing of his troops that 
lad come down the bank of the Vistula was to swing to the east- 
ward in behind the Russians. German troops which had arrived 
it Willenberg inside of the East Prussian boundary, one of the 
German concentration points on the line of railroad lying behind 
leir front, on the other hand, received orders to descend the 
ralley of the Orczy and to come in behind the Russian right flank 
from the east. These troops, making a wide detour, swept past 
^rzasnysz on the east, and swinging round to the south of the 


city attacked the Russians holding the place from this direction. 
The Germans had understood that only small Russian forces 
were in the city. Anticipating the German movement, however, 
a Russian division, as the Germans learned later, had hastened 
to Przasnysz. The Russians also had collected large forces on the 
Narew, and were hurrying them toward Przasnysz on roads 
covering a wide front. Two full Russian corps from this line 
were flung upon the German left wing. 

The forces of Von Gallwitz which had carried out the en- 
circling movement from the east and south of Przasnysz now 
found themselves caught between two Russian armies. How- 
ever, they were unwilling to relinquish the booty which they had 
planned to seize. A part of the German forces was disposed in 
a half circle as a defense against the Russians coming up from 
the south, and a division of reserves, February 24, stormed 
Przasnysz. The German Great Headquarters announced that 
the Germans captured 10,000 prisoners, including 57 officers, and 
took 36 cannon, 14 machine guns, and much war material of 
various sorts. However, the Russian troops were now pressing 
forward from the south with irresistible force. The Germans, in 
consequence, slowly fell back, fighting under great difficulties, 
and moving northward toward their defensive lines, carrying 
with them their prisoners and booty. 

The Russian General Staff on the first of March, 1915, devoted 
an explicit account to the fighting about Przasnysz which differs 
but slightly from the narrative by the German Great Head- 
quarters which has in general been followed in the preceding 
description. Both sides apparently considered the operation of 
special importance, and as reflecting credit upon their respective 
troops. The Russian story emphasizes the attacks made by 
their force on the line Lyssakowo-Chainovo simultaneously from 
north and south, that is, both in the flank and in the rear of the 
Germans to the west of Przasnysz. They represent their troops 
in the city as having consisted of only a brigade of infantry and 
some insignificant cavalry units. On the 25th of February, when 
the Germans had established themselves in the town, the Rus- 
sians, according to their account, were pressing their enemies 




hard upon a long front from Krasnoseltz through Vengerzinovo, 
Kolatschkowo to Vohaverlowska. 

On the evening of this day they drove the Germans into posi- 
tions close to the city. The Thirty-sixth German Reserve Divi- 
sion on the same evening is said to have met serious disaster 
after a determined resistance at the crossings of the Anetz. On 
the evening of the next day the Russians began to reenter 
Przasnysz, but did not completely occupy the town until the night 
after the 27th. "The Germans," the Russian account continues, 
''hereupon began a disorderly retreat, endeavoring to withdraw 
in the direction of Mlawa-Chorgele. Regardless of the exhaus- 
tion consequent upon the marching they had undergone and four 
days of battle, our troops energetically took up the pursuit of the 
enemy. On the 28th of February they inflicted serious losses 
upon his rear guard. In these battles we seized a large amount 
of booty. The total number of prisoners amounts to at least 
10,000." The Russians maintain that they had defeated no less 
than two German army corps and thrown them back to the 

On the 12th of March, 1915, the German Great Headquarters 
protested against this version of the affair, and pointed to the 
fact that within a few days their troops were again threatening 
Przasnysz, and that since giving up the city they had captured 
on the battle fields between the Vistula and the Orczy no less 
than 11,460 Russians. 

The city of Przasnysz itself suffered heavily in these attacks 
and counterattacks. For days and nights it had lain under bom- 
bardment and repeatedly fierce, hand-to-hand combats had been 
fought in its streets. Most of the houses of the place were left 
mere heaps of smoking ruins. 

From the German point of view this offensive just north of 
the Vistula which included the temporary capture of Przasnysz 
was a success, especially in this, that it had prevented the big 
Russian forward movement against the West Prussian boundary 
which the impending great Russian offensive had foreboded. It 
had been impossible for the Russians seriously to endanger the 
German flank in this section, while the Germans had struck to 


the east in the "winter battle/' and had definitely spoiled the 
Russian appetite for invasion from the Kovno-Grodno line. 

As though determined to avenge their defeat to the east 
of the lakes, the Russians now continued to direct a series 
of fierce attacks in the direction of Mlawa, intending apparently 
to break through the German line of defense between Soldau 
and Neidenburg. It was said that the Russians believed General 
von Hindenburg in person to be in charge of the German forces 
in this sector. In consequence the German troops for the most 
part were forced to stand upon the defensive. In the beginning 
of March the Russian attacks increased steadily in violence. 
They broke against the German positions to the east and south 
of Mlawa, according to German reports, with enormous losses. 
At Demsk, to the east of Mlawa, long rows of white stones mark 
common graves of masses of Russians who perished before the 
German barbed-wire entanglements. The Germans point to these 
as dumb witnesses of the disaster that overtook forty-eight Rus- 
sian companies that assaulted ten German ones. The cold 
.weather at this time had made possible the swampy regions in 
which the Orczy rises, and had enabled the Russians to approach 
close to the German line of defense. 

The Russian attack at this point in the night of the 7th of 
March, 1915, was typical of the fighting on this line in these 
weeks. After a thousand shells from the Russian heavy guns 
had descended upon and behind Demsk, a seemingly ceaseless 
series of infantry attacks set in. They were carried close up to 
the lines of wire of the German defense. Enough light, however, 
was shed by the searchlights and light balls shot from pistols to 
enable the Germans to direct a destructive infantry and ma- 
chine-gun fire on the approaching lines. Those of the Russians 
who did not fall, fled to the next depression in the ground. There 
they were held by the beams of the searchlights until daybreak. 
Then they surrendered to the German patrols. Of another 
attack a few kilometers farther to the north, at Kapusnik, the 
Germans reported that after the enemy had penetrated into their 
trenches and had been driven out in a desperate bayonet fight, 
they buried 906 Russians and 164 Germans. 


On the 8th of March, 1915, General von Gallwitz again tried 
an offensive with fresh forces which he had gathered. It was 
thwarted, however, on the 12th, to the north of Przasnysz. The 
Germans estimated the Russian forces which here were brought 
up for the counterattack at some ten army corps and seven cav- 
alry divisions. The Russians in advancing this time, instead of 
directing their thrust at Mlawa, pushed northeastward of 
Przasnysz along the rivers Orczy and Omulew. In this sector 
the Germans counted from the 13th to the 23d of March forty- 
six serious assaults, twenty-five in the daytime and twenty-one 
at night. With special fury the battles raged in the neighbor- 
hood of Jednorozez. This attempt to break into Prussia was 
also unsuccessful, and in the last week of March the Russian 
attacks slackened, quiet ensuing for the weeiks following Easter. 

For six weeks the armies had struggled back and forth in this 
bloody angle, fighting in cold and wet, amid snow and icy rains. 
The Germans asserted that in these six weeks the troops of Gen- 
eral von Gallwitz had captured 43,000 Russians and slain some 
25,000. They estimated the total losses of the enemy in this 
sector during the period at 100,000. Countless graves scattered 
about the land, and the ruins of cities and villages were left to 
keep awake the memory of some of the fiercest fighting of the 
war in the east. 



rpHE winter battles of the Mazurian Lakes had forced the 
-*- armies at the northern end of the Russian right flank 
back into their great fortresses Kovno and Grodno, and behind 
the line of the Niemen and the Bobr. A great forest region lies 
to the east and north of Grodno, and between the Niemen and 
the cities of Augustowo and Suwalki which the Germans, after 
their successful offensive, used as bases for their operations. A 


strip of country including these forests, and running parallel to 
the Niemen was a sort of no-man's land in the spring of 1915. 
Movements of troops in the heavily wooded country were difficult 
to observe, and the conditions lent themselves to surprise at- 
tacks. This resulted in a warfare of alternate thrusts by Rus- 
sians and Germans aimed now at this point, now at that, in the 
disputed territory. Several actions during the spring stand out 
beyond the rest in importance, both because of the numbers en- 
gaged and their effects. In what follows will be described a 
typical offensive movement in this district undertaken by the 
Russians, and the way it was met by the Germans. 

A new Russian Tenth Army had been organized by the end of 
February, 1915, with Grodno for its base. General Sievers, his 
chief of staff, and the general in command of the Third Russian 
Army Corps had been demoted from their commands, and three 
new army corps (Two, Three, and Fifteen) had been brought to 
Grodno. The ranks of the remaining corps that had suffered 
in the "winter battle" had been filled up with fresh recruits. 
Hardly had the German pursuit in the forest of Augustowo come 
to an end when the freshly strengthened Russians moved for- 
ward from their defensive lines in a counterattack. The Ger- 
mans had been engaged in the task of gathering and carting 
away their enormous booty which lay scattered about the forest. 
They now drew back from in front of the Russian fortified lines 
to prepare positions close to Augustowo, and on a line running 
roughly north and south from this place, with the forest in front 
of them. 

The Third Russian Army Corps advanced from Simno toward 
Lozdsisjo, their Second Army Corps from Grodno by way of 
Kopiewo and Sejny toward Krasnopol and other Russian corps 
advanced through the forest of Augustowo. Here they soon 
struck strong German resistance, and for several days vainly 
attacked German fortified positions. 

On the 9th of March, 1915, a German offensive began against 
the Russian Third Corps which held the right wing of the ad' 
vancing army. When this corps suddenly found itself threatened 
in the flank from the north and in danger of being surrounded 


it hastily began to retreat toward the east and southeast, leav- 
ing several hundred prisoners and several machine guns in the 
hands of the Germans. This withdrawal exposed the right flank 
of the adjoining Second Army Corps, which by this time, March 
9, 1915, had reached Berzniki and Giby. The German attack 
w^as now continued against this corps. It was cold weather, the 
thermometer was considerably below the freezing point, and the 
roads were slippery with ice, so that dozens of horses fell, com- 
pletely exhausted, and the infantry could march only two or 
three kilometers an hour. 

On March 9 and 10, 1915, the battle flamed up at Sejny and 
Berzniki, the Russian corps, which had developed its front to- 
ward the west, being forced to swing about and face the north, 
whence the Germans were driving down upon it. At Berzniki 
two Russian regiments made up entirely of young troops were, 
according to the German account, completely annihilated, and 
the commanders of the regiments captured. It seemed as though 
the leader of the Russian armies saw approaching a repetition of 
the encircling movements that had proved fatal to the Russians 
in the Mazurian "winter battle," for on the 10th of March he 
gave orders for the withdrawal of his entire army. The German 
airmen on this day reported the Russian columns on the march 
through the forest in full retreat toward Grodno all along the 
line from Giby to Sztabiz, far to the south. 

On the 11th of March, 1915, the German troops vigorously 
pushed the pursuit. They occupied Makarze, Froncki, and Giby. 
On the same night a German cavalry division took Kopciovo by 
assault. At this place alone they counted 300 dead Russians, 
and more than 5,000 prisoners, 12 machine guns, and 3 cannon, 
fell into the hands of the Germans. 

The threatened envelopment of this Russian army was typical 
of the method employed by the leaders under Von Hindenburg in 
local operations, as it was of German method in general when 
applied to operations extending over the entire field of action. It 
could be applied with special success where the German informa- 
tion service was superior to that of the Russians, as it usually was, 
and the movements of German troops were facilitated by good 


railway connections. In the Augustowo forests, however, rapid- 
ity of movement had to be achieved by the legs of the German 
soldiers to a large extent, and on this they prided themselves not 
a little. The operation just described was regarded by the Ger- 
man Great Headquarters as being of great significance, valuable 
for its moral effect in establishing in the German troops a sense 
of superiority, and confidence in their leadership, and for its in- 
fliction of material losses of considerable moment on the Russians^ 

The Russians likewise claimed advantages from their forward 
thrust from Grodno. As represented by the Russian General 
Staff the withdrawal of the Germans from a front close to the 
line of the fortress in the first place was not a voluntary one, as it 
is pictured in the German account, but was forced by the strong 
pressure exerted by the Russian attacks following upon their 
retreat after the "winter battle." Thus they report the complete 
defeat of two German army corps, resulting in the seizure by the 
Russians of Height 100.3, which they described as dominating 
the entire region of the operations before Grodno. "In this 
battle," says the Russian report of March 5, 1915, "we took 1,000 
prisoners and six cannon and a machine gun. Height 100.3 was 
defended by the Twenty-first Corps, the best of them all which 
lost during the battle 12,000 to 15,000 soldiers, as can be esti- 
mated from the dead left behind. After the shattering of the 
German counterattack at Height 100.3 the operations of the 
enemy became entirely passive. We, on the other hand, took vil- 
lage after village, and everywhere made prisoners." 

The fortress of Ossowetz on the Bobr River proved incon- 
querable by the 42-centimeter mortars which had worked such 
terrific effects on the forts of Belgium and France. It was 
continually under German artillery fire through the months of 
February and March, 1915, without suffering appreciable dam- 
age. The great mortars were brought up within range of the 
fortress with much difficulty, owing to the fact that the place 
is almost completely surrounded by swamps. The Germans 
apparently had counted seriously at first on making a breach in 
the Russian defensive lines at this place. After persistent at' 
tempts to make an impression on the fortress with their heaviest 


guns they were obliged, however, to content themselves with 
keeping the garrison in check so as to forestall offensive moves. 

A German artillery officer who took part in the bombardment 
relates that the chief obstacle to the pressing home of an attack 
were several heavily armored batteries which lay concealed out- 
side the visible works of the fortress itself in the broad strip 
of swampland surrounding it. These were built deep into the 
ground, protected by thick earthworks, and very effectively 
screened from observation. They were a constant menace and 
apparently could not be destroyed by the German fire. Even 
though the main fort itself had been destroyed they would have 
prevented the approach of the enemy's troops, for they com- 
manded the only causeway leading through the swamps to the 
fortress and would have blown to pieces any infantry that ven- 
tured to push along this road. 

Furthermore, even the intense cold did not make the swamp 
passable except by the roadway because warm springs here 
and there prevented the ice from freezing sufficiently strong to 
bear the troops. The German gunners noted too that their 
shots fell practically without effect, plunging quietly into the 
mud to a great depth so that they did not even throw up earth 
or mud. 

The result was that the 42-centimeter monsters were hastily 
withdrawn after a few trial shots and the bombardment was 
continued with a battery of 28-centimeter coast defense guns, 
an Austrian motor battery, a 30.5-centimeter mortar and some 
other heavy batteries. The fire rose to considerable intensity 
in the last days of February and the first days of March. 

On the 3d of March the Russians in their official report 
dwelt on the fierceness of the bombardment and its ineffective- 
ness. On the 16th they reported that the Germans were pushing 
several of their batteries up into closer range, as they had 
recognized the uselessness of shooting from a greater distance 
and on the 18th they stated that the fire was falling off. On 
the 22d, finally, they reported that beginning with the 21st the 
Germans had been withdrawing their heavy batteries. They 
added that a 42-centimeter mortar had been damaged by the Rus- 


sian fire, and that "not a single shot of these mortars has 
reached the fortress, not a redoubt has been penetrated. The 
superiority of the artillery fire evidently rests with us. The 
German attack was not only far removed from placing the forti- 
fications of Ossowetz in a critical position, it did not even suc- 
ceed in driving our infantry out of the field works." 

On the 27th of March there was a resumption of the bombard- 
ment on a small scale and another effort began on April 11 
with some heavy guns, ending in an attempted advance which 
was repulsed without difficulty by the Russians. 



AN event in which no great number of troops were concerned, 
- but which is of importance, because of the feeling which it 
aroused in Germany and because it was the first of a series of 
operations in what was practically a new theatre of the war was 
the Russian invasion of the very northernmost tip of East 
Prussia. On Thursday, the 18th of March, 1915, the Russians 
coming simultaneously from the north and the east across the 
border of Courland, moved on the Prussian city of Memel in 
several columns. Their troops included seven battalions of 
militia with six or eight guns of an old model, several squadrons 
of mounted men, two companies of marines, a battalion of a 
reserve regiment, and border defense troops from Riga and 
Libau, a total of some 6,000 to 10,000 men. The German Land- 
sturm troops at the Prussian boundary fell back on Memel, not 
being in sufficient force to resist the advance. They were finally 
driven through the city and across the narrow strip of water 
known as the Kurische Haff to the dunes along the shore of the 
Baltic. The Russians burned down numerous buildings along 
the roads on which they approached, according to the German 
report, inflicting heavy damage on fifteen villages. A consider- 


able number of the inhabitants, including women and children, 
were removed to Russia, and a number of civilians were killed. 
The troops entered the city on the evening of March 18 and took 
the mayor and three other men of the town as hostages. Ap- 
parently the Russian commander made some efforts to restrain 
his men, but plundering of stores and dwellings nevertheless 
occurred. On the 20th of March, 1915, the city was for a time 
cleared of Russian troops, but on Sunday, the 21st, other soldiers 
entered the town from the north. These were met by German 
patrols, which were followed by stronger German forces that 
had come up from the south to drive back the invaders. Street 
fighting followed, and the Russians were finally thrown out, los- 
ing about 150 dead. 

The Russians were pursued on March 22 and 23, 1915, and in 
passing through Polangen, close to the shore of the Baltic, came 
under the fire of German cruisers. They lost some 500 prisoners, 
3 guns, 3 machine guns, and ammunition wagons. With the 
German troops which cleared the Russians out of Memel was the 
son of the emperor. Prince Joachim of Prussia. 

Concerning this raid the following official announcement was 
made by the Germans on March 18, 1915: "Russian militia 
troops have gained a cheap success in the northernmost comer 
of East Prussia in the direction of Memel. They have plundered 
and burned villages and farms. As a penalty, we have ordered 
the cities occupied by us in Russian territory to pay consider- 
able sums in damages. For every village or farm burned down 
by these hordes on German soil three villages or farms of the 
territory occupied by us in Russia will be given over to the 
flames. Each act of damage in Memel will be answered by the 
burning of Russian Government buildings in Suwalki and other 
capitals of governments." 

To this the following Russian official reply was made on 
March 21, 1915 : "The official communique of the German Great 
Headquarters of the 18th of March concerning the movement of 
Russian troops against Memel contains a threat of reprisals to 
be exacted on Russian villages and cities held by the enemy on 
account of the losses which might be suffered by the population in 

22— War St. 3 


the neighborhood of Memel. The Russian General Staff gives 
public notice that Memel was openly defended by hostile troops, 
and that battle was offered in the streets. Since the civil popu- 
lation took part in this fight our troops were compelled to reply 
with corresponding measures. If, therefore, the German troops 
should carry out their threat against the peaceful inhabitants 
of the Russian territory which they hold, such acts should be 
considered not as reprisals but as independent acts. Responsi- 
bility for this, as well as for the consequences, would rest upon 
the Germans." 

The move against Memel was apparently part of a Russian 
operation which was intended also to strike at the city of 
Tilsit. The German Great Headquarters reported that for op- 
erations intended to seize the northern regions of East Prussia a 
so-called Riga-Shavli army group had been formed under the 
command of General Apuchtin. While portions of these troops 
were active in Memel on March 18, 1915, the fourteen German 
Landsturm companies holding Tauroggen, just to the north of 
the East Prussian boundary, were attacked by superior forces 
and practically surrounded. They fought their way through to 
Langszargen with some difficulty, and were being pressed back 
on the road to Tilsit when on March 23 German reenf orcements 
came up and General von Pappritz, leading the Germans, went 
over to the offensive. 

A heavy thaw made movement of troops anywhere except on 
the main roads extremely difficult. Guns were left stuck in the 
mud, and the infantry waded to the knee in water, and some- 
times to the waist. It is reported that one of the horses of the 
artillery literally was drowned on the road. Germans attacked 
Tauroggen, where the enemy had intrenched himself, under an 
artillery fire directed from the church tower of the place. On 
the 28th the town was taken^ after a difficult crossing of the Jura 
River in front of it, on the ice. The Germans then exulted in 
the fact that not a Russian was left on German soil. 




ON the 20th of April, 1915, an announcement was made by the 
German Great Headquarters which took the Russians and 
the world in general more or less by surprise. It gave the first 
glimpse to the public of a group of operations which caused no 
little speculation in the minds of strategists. It read : 

"The advance troops of our forces operating in northwestern 
Russia yesterday reached on a broad front the railway running 
from Dunaburg (Dvinsk) to Libau. Thus far the Russian troops 
present in that region, including also the remnants of those 
which took part in the raid against Memel, have attempted no 
serious resistance anywhere. Fighting is now in progress near 

The advance into Courland here announced had been made by 
the German troops at high speed. The forces were under the 
command of General von Lauenstein. They had begun to move 
early on the 27th of April, in three columns. One of these crossed 
the Niemen at Schmalleningken, forming the right wing of the 
troops engaged in the movement. The columns of the left wing 
broke out of East Prussia at its northernmost point, and moved 
along the dunes of the Baltic. On the second day of the forward 
march it was learned by the leaders of the advancing troops t3iat 
the Russians had hastily left their position at Skawdwile, on the 
main road from Tilsit to Mitau, to escape being surrounded on 

leir left flank, and had withdrawn to Shavli by way of Heilmy. 
)n the third day the German right column crossed the Win- 

Lwski Canal under the enemy's fire, and on the afternoon of the 
JOth of April this column entered Shavli, which had been set on 

•e by the Russians. 

The Germans had now crossed at several points the Libau- 
>unaburg railway. They were in Telsche and Trischki. Their 

ivalry pushed ahead at full speed with orders to destroy the 





railways wherever it found them. On the road to Mitau they 
captured Russian machine guns, ammunition wagons, and bag- 
gage, and broke up the railway tracks to the southwest and 
northwest of ShavH. The Russians who had been taken by sur- 
prise by this movement had apparently only weak forces in 
Courland, and these had retired while reenforcements were 
being rushed up by railway. The German infantry, upon the 
receipt of reports that the Russians were moving up by rail from 
Kovno on their right flank, was ordered to stop its advance and 
prepare to hold the Dubissa line, taking up a front running a 
little east of south. Cavalry moving forwiard in the center of the 
German advance on the 3d of May, 1915, got within two kilo- 
meters of Mitau, going beyond Grilnhof and capturing 2,000 
Russians. At Skaisgiry on the day before 1,000 prisoners 
had been taken, and Janischki and Shagory had been oc- 
cupied far beyond the Libau-Dunaburg railway. By this time 
Russian reenforcements were arriving at Mitau in huge 
numbers. The German cavalry ultimately fell back after 
indicting all possible damage to the communications in their 

The Germans prided themselves a good deal on the marching 
of their troops in this swift advance. They pointed out that the 
roads were in extremely bad condition, the bridges for the most 
destroyed, and the population to a large extent hostile. A mili- 
tary correspondent figured that for a daily march of fifty Kilo- 
metei:s, such as was frequently made in Courland, 62,000 steps 
of an average of eighty centimeters were required. This for a 
day's march of from nine to ten hours gives an average of five 
to six kilometers per hour, some 6,000 to 7,000 steps. That 
makes in the neighborhood of 100 steps per minute, which the 
correspondent regarded as a considerable accomplishment when 
allowance is made for the fact that this was kept up hour after 
hour in full marching equipment. 

The column coming from Memel, directed along the Baltic 
shores, had been steadily moving on Libau. In preparation 
for the land attack German naval vessels on the 29th of April 
had bombarded the forts defending the town. On the 6th of May 


the Russians themselves blew up one of the forts on the eastern 
front. The shore batteries were soon after silenced by German 
fire. The German troops advancing from the land side took the 
forts on the south almost without opposition. Russian troops 
which had been unloaded at Mitau and sent forward toward the 
southwest were unable to come up in time to offer any obstacles 
to the German advance, and on the 8th of May, at six o'clock in 
the morning, the German soldiers marched into Libau, where 
they took about 1,500 prisoners, twelve guns, and a number of 
machine guns. 

The Germans immediately turned the metal-working plants of 
the city to their uses in the manufacture of chains, barbed wire, 
etc. They also found here a large supply of tools for intrench- 
ing work. Most of the Russians of the city had fled. One motive 
for the German advance into Courland advanced by their ene- 
mies was that it was an attempt to include a rich section of 
country in foraging operations, and it is a fact that the German 
authorities gave expression to their satisfaction at seizing a 
region that was of considerable economic value. It is apparent, 
however, in regarding these operations in the retrospect that 
they had no small bearing on the German plan of campaign as 
a whole. It was at the time that the inroad into Courland was 
started that the signal was about to be given for the great on- 
slaught far to the south on the Dunajec, as described in the 
account of the Austro-Russian campaign. As the vast campaign 
along the whole eastern front developed, it became more and 
more apparent that the position of the German troops in Cour- 
land placed them advantageously for taking the Russian line of 
defenses, of which the fortress of Kovno represented the north- 
em end in the flank in this carrying out of an important part of 
the vast encircling movement which took all Poland in its grasp. 
They were a constant threat to the all-important Vilna-Petro^ 
grad Railway. 

In hostile and neutral countries the Courland invasion pro- 
voked comment indicating astonishment at the resources of the 
Teutonic powers in being able to extend their lines while already 
fully engaged on an enormous front. 


fhe Russians, awakening from their first astonishment, made 
vigorous attempts to obtain permanent possession of the 
Dubissa line. Along this line the German troops were for a 
time forced to yield ground and to go into the defensive and 
to resist heavy Russian attacks. Shavli was given up under 
Russian pressure. By May 14, all the territory east of 
the Dubissa and Windau (Vindowa) was reported free of 

Especially noteworthy among the struggles for the Dubissa 
was the fight at Rossiennie, a town which was of special impor- 
tance because of its command of the roads centering in it. On 
the 22d of May, 1915, an attack was delivered against this place 
by the First Caucasian Rifle Brigade with artillery and assisted 
by the Fifteenth Cavalry Division. On the 23d the German cav- 
alry which had resisted their crossing the river drew back, and 
the Russians here crossed the Dubissa, approaching Rossiennie 
from the north. The Germans during the night moved the 
greater part of their troops around the western wing of their 
opponents and placed them in position for attack. 

At daybreak heavy artillery fire was poured upon the Rus- 
sians from the German position to the north of Rossiennie, while 
at the same time the German infantry fell upon the Russian 
flank and rolled it up, with the result that the Russians were 
compelled to recross the Dubissa. In the crossing numerous 
wounded were drowned in the river. The Germans took 2,500 
prisoners and fifteen machine guns. Similar counterattacks were 
delivered by the Germans on the River Wenta. Then, on the 
5th of June, 1915, a general ofl^ensive was entered upon by the 
whole German line on orders from the General Staff, which car- 
ried it beyond the Dubissa, and after heavy fighting finally se- 
cured for the Germans the Windawski Canal, which they had 
had to relinquish before. Their troops now slowly pushed their 
way back toward Shavli until the city came within reach of 
their heavy guns, and took Kuze, twelve kilometers to the north- 
west of Shavli on the railway. On the 14th of June, 1915, this 
series of operations came to a temporary halt. German official 
reports pointed to the fact that among 14,000 prisoners which 


they had taken there were only a few officers, and that with 
these not a single cannon was captured. They regarded it as 
showing that the Russians were getting very cautious in the 
use of their artillery and were short of officers. 



OFFENSIVES on a large scale such as that which had been 
prevented by the "Winter JBattle of the Mazurian Lakes" 
were not attempted by the Russians on their northern wing after 
the short counterattack that had pushed their lines into the 
Mlawa angle in the corner of the Vistula and the Prussian 
boundary beyond Przasnysz, to the east of Thorn. They vir- 
tually remained in their strongly fortified positions along the 
Narew, the Bobr, and the Niemen, except for the sending out 
of occasional attacking columns against the German lines lying 
opposite to them. 

These forward thrusts were made especially from the for- 
tresses Grodno and Kovno, and the fortified place Olita. We 
have already dealt with one such operation which came to grief 
in the forest of Augustowo in March. The German invasion 
of Courland had taken place, and the extension of the German 
lines to the north invited a thrust at their communications when, 
in the middle of May, the Russians attempted to break through 
the German lines with columns starting from the great forest 
to the west of Kovno. Here German troops under General Litz- 
mann, acting under the command of General von Eichhorn, stood 
on guard. When Litzmann received information that the Rus- 
sians were advancing in force he was obliged hastily to gather 
such troops as he £ould find to stem the Russian attack. Troop 
units from a large variety of different organizations were freshly 
grouped practically on the battle field. At Szaki and Gryszka- 


buda, on May 17-20, they struck the Russians with such force 
that the Slavs were driven back into the forests. 

The German general now decided to clear this territory of 
his enemies, as it had given them a constant opportunity for 
the preparation of moves which could not be readily observed, 
because of the protection of the thick woods. Again he executed 
the favorite maneuver of Von Hindenburg's armies. He gath- 
ered as heavy a weight of troops as possible on his left wing 
and pushed them forward in an extended encircling movement. 
From the south a strong column from Mariampol and the line 
of the Szsczupa moved upon the fortified position of the Rus- 
sians and the southern corner of the great forest, meeting with 
strong resistance at Dumbowa Ruda. The troops moving down 
from the northern part of the woods swung to their right to cut 
off the Russians from their retreat toward Kovno. By the time 
the operations had reached this stage it was the second week 
in June, 1915, and in the great pine forests extending for miles 
there was an oppressive heat with perfect absence of breeze. 
Three Russian positions lying in the river valleys in the forest 
were encircled one after another from the north and had to be 
given up. 

The Russians recognized the danger of the concentric attack 
directed at them and fought with great bravery. They strove 
to keep open the road of their retreat toward Kovno as long 
as possible. However, the ring of the German troops closed 
swiftly. At Koslowa Ruda, in the southern part of the forest, 
they found at night a sleeping army ; something like 3,000 Rus- 
sians had lain down exhausted in order on the next day to find 
the last opening through which to make their escape. They were 
now saved the trouble and were led away prisoners. The great 
forest was cleared of Russians. The German move had served 
to insure the safety of the lines connecting the troops in Cour- 
land with their bases to the south of the Niemen. 

In an official announcement of the 18th of March, 1915, the 
German Government sketched the line held in the east by the 
German troops northward of the front covered> by joint German 
and Austrian forces. It read : " Jhe line occupied by us in the 


east runs from the Pilica, along the Rawka and Bzura to the 
Vistula. North of the Vistula the line of our troops is continued 
from the region to the east of Plozkz by way of Zurominek- 
Stupsk (both south of Mlawa). From there it runs in an east- 
erly direction through the region to the north of Przasnysz — 
south of Mystinez, south of Kolno — to the north of Lomza, and 
strikes the Bobr at Mocarce. From here it follows the line of 
the Bobr to northwest of Ossowetz, which is under our fire, and 
runs by way of the region to east of Augustowo, by Krasnopol, 
Mariempol, Pilwiszki, Szaki, along the border through Taurog- 
gen to the northwest. This is from beginning to end entirely 
on hostile soil." This long line, it appears, was under the supreme 
command of Von Hindenburg, while Von Mackensen had charge 
of the great drive to the south. 

The statement here quoted was issued as reassurance to Ger- 
mans who had been made nervous by reports of a Russian inva- 
sion of East Prussia, and was connected with the Russian raid 
on Memel. 

Until June there was practically no change in this great line, 
except that on its northern end it was swung outward into Rus- 
sian territory to include a large part of Courland, the River 
Dubissa roughly forming the dividing line until the front swung 
eastward toward Libau, in the line of the Libau-Dunaburg 

The tasks of both German and Russian troops were similar. 
Comparatively weak German forces held the front in the region 
of the Niemen, the Bobr, and the Narew, safeguarding such 
Russian territory as had been seized by the Germans, and pro- 
tecting East Prussia against invasion. Opposed to them lay 
considerable Russian forces whose task it was, supported by the 
fortresses of the Narew and the Niemen, especially Grodno, to 
protect the flank and rear of the Russians standing in Warsaw 
and southward in the bend of the Vistula, with the Warsaw- 
Vilna Railway behind them, while great decisions were fought 
for in the Carpathians and Galicia. 

In Poland, between the lower and the upper courses of the 
Vistula, the Germans about the middle of February, 1915, hav- 


ing occupied the Rawka-Sucha ridge of upland, had developed 
fortified positions along the rivers Bzura, Rawka, Pilica, and 
Nida. The bad weather of the winter and early spring, which 
had turned the roads of Poland into pathless morasses, made 
against extensive operations, and the momentous undertakings 
carried out on the wings of the eastern front led the German 
General Staff to refrain from important movements in this sec- 
tion, where the Russians had strongly fortified themselves for 
the protection of Warsaw. It was not until the Teutonic allies 
had gone over to the offensive in the Carpathians and in west- 
ern Galicia, and the Russians had withdrawn to the Polish hills 
of Lysa-Gora early in May, that, favored by improved weather* 
conditions, operations in this part of Poland again took on larger 
scope. Especially along the Bzura the German attacks again 
became violent in an effort to hold the Russian forces in the dis- 
trict to the west of Warsaw while thrusting at th^ir wings from 
the south and north. However, fighting was not of great conse- 
quence in this middle sector until the middle of June, 1915. 



BY the 1st of July, 1915, the stupendous enveloping campaign 
of the Teuton armies on the eastern front had advanced to 
a point where the Allies were forced to recognize the imminence 
of a catastrophe, which could be averted only by the most decisive 
action of the Russian armies. 

Far in the north, on the extreme right wing of the Russians, 
tlxe army of General von Biilow was hammering at the defenses 
of the Dubissa line. Off and on fighting was taking place in the 
neighborhood of Shavli. Russian counterattacks, reported from 
day to day through June, with difficulty had held in check this 
army, which evidently was aiming at the Warsaw-Petrograd 


Railway on the sector between Vilna and Dvinsk. On the right 
flank of these forces operated the troops of General von Eich- 
horn, with the line of the Niemen for their objective. Next to 
these on the south, aiming at the Bobr River and the Upper 
Narew, were the forces of General von Scholtz, and on their 
right the army of Von Gallwitz, based on Mlawa with Przasnysz 
in front of it. Below the line of the Vistula, before the Bzura 
and down to the middle course of the Pilica, operated the Ninth 
German Army, commanded, at least in the later stages of the 
Warsaw campaign, by Prince Leopold of Bavaria. The whole 
group of northern and central armies was acting under the gen- 
eral direction of Field Marshal von Hindenburg. 

The armies to the south of this group, cooperating in the 
drive under Field Marshal von Mackensen which had gained 
the Teutons Przemysl and Lemberg, had as their left flank the 
forces of Generals von Woyrsch and Kovess between the Pilica 
and the Vistula mouth of the San. The troops of Archduke 
Joseph Ferdinand were pushing forward on the right of these, 
and the army directly under Mackensen himself came next in 
line to the eastward, joining up with the armies still operating 
in Galicia at the extreme right of the great German battle line. 

The chief danger to the Russians at this stage still threatened 
from the south, where the archduke and Mackensen had pushed 
forward irresistibly in their advance to the east of the Vistula 
toward the railway running from Warsaw through Ivangorod, 
Lublin, Cholm, and Kovell to Kiev and Moscow. 

The advance of these Austro-German armies, which had oper- 
ated in the neighborhood of Lemberg, was extremely rapid in 
the last days of June, 1915. In four days they covered from 
thirty to forty miles in pursuit of the Russians. By the 1st of 
July, having swept out of Galicia, their right, under Mackensen, 
entered the upper valley of the Wieprz, a marshy country which 
presented considerable difficulty to the advance of troops where 
a tributary of the Wieprz, the Por, afforded the Russians a natu- 
ral line of defense. Drasnik, on the Wyznica, which here ex- 
tended the Russian defensive line westward, was occupied by the 
archduke's forces on Mackensen's left on the 1st of July, 1915. 


The drive of the Austro-German armies through Galicia has 
been dealt with in the account of the Austro-Russian cam- 
paign. As we carry forward the account of the activities of the 
greatest part of the forces concerned in that series of opera- 
tions from the point where they crossed over the boundary 
between Galicia and Poland out of Austrian territory, it will 
be well to glance backward a moment to enumerate here 
briefly the gains of these armies on Polish soil up to the 1st 
of July. 

On June 16, 1915, the Teutonic allies forced the Russians to 
fall back upon Tarnograd from north of Siemandria, thus push- 
ing this section of the front across the boundary into Poland 
about to the line of the Tanev. Tarnograd itself was occupied 
by the Teutons on the 17th, and on the 18th the Russians re- 
treated behind the Tanev. There was little change in this par- 
ticular sector during the fighting which was crowned for the 
Austro-Germans by the capture of Lemberg on June 22, 1915. 
Further to the east, however, to the south of the Pilica and west 
of the Vistula, Von Woyrsch was exerting pressure, and on the 
20th of June Berlin announced the capture of several Russian 
advance posts by these troops. By the 24th the Slavs had begun 
to retreat before Von Woyrsch in the forest region south of the 
Ilza on the left bank of the Vistula ; thus rear guards had been 
thrown across the Kamienna, and Sandomir was occupied by 
the Austro-Hungarians. On the 25th the fighting developed on 
the line Zarvichost-Sienno-Ilza, to which the Russians had fallen 

Defeats of the Russian rear guards on June 29, 1915, to the 
northeast and west of Tomaszow, where Teutonic forces had 
now also crossed into Poland, caused the Slavs to begin the re- 
linquishment of the Tanev forest district and the lower San. 
Tomaszow itself was occupied by the pursuing troops. By the 
30th the Teutonic allies had swept forward beyond the Tanev 
region to Franpol, Zamoez, and Komarovo, and on the same eve- 
ning they threw the Russians out of their strong defenses on the 
Zavichost-Ozarow-Sienno line, west of the Vistula. The pur- 
suit was pushed energetically on both sides of the Kamienna. 


The important bridgehead on the Vistula, Josefovo, was taken 
on the 1st of July. 

The Russians between the Bug and the Vistula were now 
offering strong resistance with large forces on the line Turobin- 
Krasnik-Josefovo, the rivers Por and Wyznica forming roughly 
their defensive front, as previously pointed out. 

In its daily bulletins of July 1, 1915, the German Great Head- 
quarters made this announcement for the eastern theatre of 
war (from the Baltic to the Pilica) : "The booty for June is : 
Two colors, 25,595 prisoners, including 121 officers, seven can- 
non, six mine throwers, fifty-two machine guns, one aeroplane, 
also a large amount of war material." For the southeastern 
theatre of war (from the Pilica to Bukowina) the headquarters 
announced : "The total booty for June of the allied troops fighting 
under the command of General von Linsingen, Field Marshal von 
Mackensen, and General von Worysch is 409 officers, 140,650 
men, 80 cannon, 268 machine guns." The Austro-Hungarian 
General Staff on the same day reported: "The total booty for 
June of the troops fighting under Austro-Hungarian command 
in the northeast is 521 officers, 194,000 men, 93 cannon, 364 
machine guns, 78 ammunition wagons, 100 field railway car- 
riages, etc." 



ON July 2, 1915, the forces of the Archduke Joseph Ferdinand 
which had passed through Krasnik, dn the Lublin road, 
struck serious resistance from the Russian army of General 
Loesche which held strong positions across the highway, just 
to the north of the town, and was now evidently deteimined to 
stop once for all the Teuton advance toward the railway at 
its back, connecting Warsaw with Kiev, through Lublin and 


On July 3, 1915, the Austrian report, however, announced that 
4,800 prisoners and three machine guns had been taken in the 
neighborhood of Krasnik and along the Por stream, and the 
next day they reported that they had occupied the heights which 
run along to the north of the city, having pierced the enemy's 
main position on both sides of Studzianki, and taken more than 
1,000 prisoners, three machine guns and three cannon. 

The Russian front was turned to such an extent that they 
had to fall back some three miles on the Lublin road. The Aus- 
trians on the 5th of July summed up their enemy's losses as 
twenty-nine officers, 8,000 men, six cannon, five ammunition 
wagons, and six machine guns. As the result of this Austrian 
advance the adjoining enemy forces to the eastward along the 
Wieprz River had been obliged to fall back beyond Tamograd, 
and by the 6th of July Vienna summarized the Austrian cap- 
tures in these battles as having grown to forty-one officers, 
F 11,500 men. 
The Austrians, however, could make no further headway. On 
July 5, 1915, they were heavily attacked, being forced back to 
their intrenched lines on a ridge of hills to the north of Krasnik, 
The Russians now reported that they had taken 15,000 prisoners 
and a large number of machine guns. Two thousand bodies were 
eported by the Russians to have been found before their front. 

ore prisoners were taken by the Russians on the 7th and it 
was only on the afternoon of July 9 that the Austrians were 
able to stem the tide. The total loss of the Austrians in this 
[action was given by their opponents as 15,000 men. 

The Austrian explanation of their retirement in front of 
Krasnik issued on July 11, 1915, pointed out that the relative 
subsidence of activity of the Teutonic allies was due to the fact 
that the goal set for the Lemberg campaign had now been attained. 
This, they explained, was the taking of the city and the securing 
of ^strong defensive positions to the east and north. The ridge 
to the northward of Krasnik was a natural choice for this pur- 
pose on the north, while the line of the Zlota Lipa and Bug rivers 
served the purpose toward the east (see Austro-Russian cam- 
paign). The Austrian explanation pointed out further that 


some of their troops had rushed beyond the positions originally 
selected to meet heavy reenforcements brought up by the Rus- 
sians from Lublin, and that these had to withdraw to the ridge, 
where they were successfully resisting all attacks. 

The battle of Krasnikwas regarded by the Russians as an effec- 
tive victory, for it seemed to have halted the advance on Lublin. 
The army of Von Mackensen had now also come to a stop about 
halfway between Zamosc and Krasnostav, an artillery duel on 
July 7, 1915, being the last activity noted on the front of this 
army for some time. 

Their comparative quiet in the region between the Vistula 
and the Bug where the main advance of the Teutonic forces on 
the south had been under way with great vigor for several weeks 
until the check at Krasnik was not interrupted until July 16, 
1915. Day after day the Teutonic headquarters reported "noth- 
ing of importance" in this quarter. When the quiet was finally 
broken it appeared that it had been the lull before the storm. 
Before taking up again the activities on this section of the front, 
it will be necessary to take a glance toward the northern 
half of the great arc that enveloped the Warsaw salient on two 

In these early days of July, 1915, considerable uncertainty 
prevailed among those who were watching the progress of the 
campaign in Poland as to where the heaviest blow of the Teutons 
would fall, whether from the south or the north. The decisive 
stroke came with lightning suddenness. A tremendous attack 
was launched in the direction of the Narew by the army of 
General von Gallwitz. 

A laconic announcement of the German General Staff on July 
14, 1915, bore momentous news, although its modest wording 
scarcely betrayed the facts. It read : "Between the Niemen and 
the Vistula, in the region of Walwarga, southwest of Koino, near 
Przasnysz and south of Mlawa, our troops have achieved some 
local successes." The Russian report referring to the beginning 
of the same action was equally noncommittal, though possibly 
more misleading. This states : "Considerable enemy forces be- 
tween the Orczy and the Lidynja adopted the offensive and the 


Russians declining a decisive engagement retreated during the 
night of the 13th to the second line of their positions." 

On July 15, 1915, the Germans announced that the city of 
Przasnysz, for which such hot battles had been fought in 
February, and which had since been strongly fortified by the 
Russians, had been occupied by them. The German summary of 
this action given out a few days later stated that three Russian 
defensive lines lying one behind the other northwest and north- 
east of Przasnysz had been pierced and taken, the troops at once 
rushing forward to Dzielin and Lipa, respectively west and east 
of the town. Under attack from these two points the Russians 
after yielding Przasnysz, on the 14th, retired to their defensive 
line Ciechanow-Krasnosielc which had been prepared long before- 
hand. On the 15th the German troops pressing closer upon the 
retiring Slavs stormed this line and broke through it to the 
south of Zielona on a breadth of seven kilometers, forcing the 
Rus&lans again to retire. General von Gallwitz's troops in this 
assault were supported by the forces of General von Scholtz, 
on their left, who were pressing the Russians from the direction 
of Kolno. On July 16, 1915, the Russians were retreating on the 
whole front between the Pissa and the Vistula, toward the 

The German summary of the fighting during these days re- 
ported the capture by the army of General von Gallwitz of eighty- 
eight officers, 17,500 men, thirteen cannon (including one heavy 
gun), forty machine guns, and seven mine throwers; and by the 
army of General von Scholtz of 2,500 prisoners and eight ma- 
chine guns. 

I' This great attack in the north, to which may be ascribed the 
final breaking of tlie lines that had so long protected Warsaw, 
tad been carefully planned and undoubtedly was timed in co- 
ordination with the movements of Mackensen's armies on the 
pouth, striking the Russians just when Mackensen and the Arch- 
duke Josef, having had time for recuperation and preparation 
for another push forward after the check administered at 
Krasnik, were in readiness to inflict a heavy blow on their side 
of the Warsaw salient. When it began the German lines all 

23— War St. 3 


along the front burst into fresh activity. It was the signal for 
a simultaneous assault along nearly a thousand miles of battle 

In the Mlawa sector to the north of Przasnysz the Russians 
had developed an exceedingly strong system of fortified 
positions between their advance lines and the Narew fortresses. 
For miles, to a depth of from fifteen to twenty kilometers, there 
ran some three or four and at certain points even five systems 
of trenches, one behind the other. Hundreds of thousands of 
thick tree trunks had been worked into these defensive works 
and millions of sand bags piled up as breastwork. Bombproof 
dugouts had been constructed deep in the ground. Everywhere 
there were strong wire entanglements before the front, some- 
times sunk below the level of the earth, arranged in from two 
to three rows. Projecting bastions and thoroughly protected 
observation posts gave these systems of trenches the character 
of permanent fortifications. 

The country in this region is hilly, with here and there steep 
declivities and peaks of considerable elevation. The Russians 
had cut down whole stretches of forest in order to afford them 
a free field for their fire and an opportunity to observe the 
advance of their opponents. Enveloping tactics on the part of 
the Germans were here quite excluded as the two lines ran 
uninterruptedly close to one another. Przasnysz which had 
become a heap of ruins had been converted virtually into a 
fortress by strong defensive works built while the Germans and 
Russians lay opposite each other in front of it throughout the 
spring. The country round about had been drenched with much 
German and Russian blood. 

General von Gallwitz, to capture a place with the least possible 
loss, decided to break through the Russian defenses at two points 
at both sides of the town sufficiently close to each other so that 
the intervening lines would be immediately affected. His attacks 
were therefore directed at the first line Russian positions, which 
formed projecting angles to the northwest and northeast of 
Przasnysz so that instead of taking the city directly from the 
front he would seize it as with a gigantic pair of pincers from 


both sides and behind. The plan succeeded to the full. The Rus- 
sian lines were broken on both sides of the city and the German 
troops, rushing through, met behind it, forcing the Russian de- 
fenders hastily to evacuate the place to avoid being caught within 
the circle. 

Strong infantry forces were collected opposite the points of 
attack, and enormous masses of artillery were placed in position 
with abundance of ammunition in readiness. The preparations 
had been made with all possible secrecy and even when the Ger- 
man batteries had begun gradually to get their range by testing 
shots no serious assault seems to have been expected by the Rus- 
sians. On the morning of the attack they were just to inaugurate 
service on a small passenger railway line they had constructed 
behind their front. 

On the morning of July 13, 1915, soon after sunrise, a 
tremendous cannonade was let loose from guns of all calibers. 
Although the weather was rainy and not well fitted for observa- 
tion the German guns seem to have found their marks with 
great accuracy. When the German infantry stormed the first 
line of works which had been shattered by the artillery fire 
they met with comparatively little resistance and their losses 
were small. The bombardment apparently had done its 
work thoroughly. The German infantry rushes were started 
in successive intervals of a quarter of an hour, line fol- 
lowing line. Swarms of unarmed Russians could be seen 
coming out of the trenches seeking to save themselves from 
the terrible effect of the shell fire by surrendering. During 
the course of the forenoon the sun came out and illuminated a 
scene of terrific destruction. The Russian positions on the 
heights northwest of Przasnysz had been completely leveled. In 
their impetuous forward rush the German troops did not give 
the enemy time to make a stand in his second line of trenches^ 
and overrunning this, by night began to enter the third Russian 
defensive line. Przasnysz was flanked in the course of twenty- 
four hours and could no longer be held. A fine rain was falling 
as the German columns marched through the deserted, smoke- 
blackened city, a melancholy setting for a victory. 


On July 14, 1915, the German troops had broken through on 
both sides of the city, met to the south of it and forming a mighy 
battering ram, on the next day, forced the next Russian line, the 
last, to the north of the Narew. This ran through Wysogrod- 
Ciechanow-Zielona to Kranosiele. The Russians here made a 
desperate defense and the German advance pushed forward but 
slowly. The effect of the German artillery fire seems not to have 
been as striking as on the first day of battle. The German 
report of the attack on this line points out that the regiment of 
the Guard holding the right wing of a division which was to 
attack the heights to the south and southeast of Zielona was im- 
patient to go forward, and was allowed to advance before the 
reserves which were to be held in readiness to support the move 
had come up. 

However, confident of the accuracy with which the "black 
brothers" (shells from the big guns) struck the enemy's 
trenches, the riflemen leapt forward through fields of grain as 
soon as they saw that a gust of their shells had struck in front 
of them. By means of signs which been agreed upon they then 
signaled their new positions and the guns laid their fire another 
hundred meters farther forward. The infantrjonen then 
stormed ahead into the newly made shell craters. Thus they 
went forward again and again. Neither Russian fire nor the 
double barbed wire entanglements were able to check their 

As the German shouts rolled forth the Russians ran. A 
neighboring division consisting of young men who had enlisted 
in the course of the war, in a brilliant charge took a bastion at | 
Klosnowo. The effect of this first penetration of the Russian 
main position made itself felt in the course of the afternoon and 
night along the whole front. Further German forces were 
thrown into the breach and strove to widen it. 

The Russians at many points resisted obstinately, but under 
the pressure from the front and in the flank they were finally 
unable to hold their ground. The German account speaks with 
admiration of the ride to death of a Russian cavalry brigade 
which attacked the German infantry southeast of Opinozura 


without achieving: any results. Cossacks and Hussars were 
mowed down in an instant. 

The German advance taking several intermediate places did 
not halt until it stood before the fortification of the Narew 
line itself. As a result of this stroke the German troops had 
advanced some forty to fifty kilometers into hostile territory on 
a breadth of a hundred and twenty kilometers and had captured 
some 10,000 prisoners and much war material. By the 18th of 
July, 1915, German trains were running as far as Ciechanow. 

Advances were likewise made by the Germans to the right of 
the attack on the Przasnysz positions on both sides of the Mlawa- 
Ciechanow Railway, rolling up the Russian positions as far as 
Plonsk. On the left progress had also been made and heavy 
fighting done, but the German great headquarters pointed out 
that in times to come history will assign the important place to 
the central feature of this great offensive by General von 
Gallwitz, that is the enveloping attack at Przasnysz and the ram- 
ming thrust at Zielona. 

The report issued by the Russian General Staff on July 19, 
1915, admitted that to the west of Omulev their troops had with- 
drawn to the Narew bridgeheads on the 17th. The points of 
some of the German columns on this day, in fact, came within 
the range of the artillery of the fortress of Novo-Georgievsk and 
the army of General von Scholtz reached the line of the Bobr 
and the Narew between Osowice and Ostrolenka. The action at 
Przasnysz had been decisive. It resulted ultimately in the 
relinquishing by the Russians of the lines of the Rawka and 
Bzura which had been so stubbornly held against the Germans 
in the long defense of Warsaw. The troops directly charged 
here with defending the capital fell back to the Blonie lines 
about fifteen miles from the city. 




THE great stroke at Przasnysz was the most dramatic feature 
of a grand offensive all around the German lines that were 
endeavoring to close in upon the Russian armies. On July 16, 
1915, the Archduke Joseph struck hard at the Russians on the 
Krasnik-Lublin road in an endeavor to carry the fortified 
positions at Wilkolaz. His men, however, were thrown back after 
ten furious assaults. Krasnostav, on the road to Cholm, was 
attacked on the same day by the army of General von Macken- 
sen, and after a series of desperate rear-guard actions had been 
fought by the Russians was swept over by the German Allies. 
By the close of the day the Germans had taken twenty-eight 
officers, 6,380 men, and nine machine guns. 

The Germans, prepared in the recent pause in the fighting, by 
the bringing up of their artillery on the long lines of com- 
munication which now stretched behind them, with troops re- 
enforced by such fresh forces as they could muster, were hurling 
themselves upon the Russian defensive positions everywhere 
along the line. Thus, on the forenoon of July 17, 1915, the 
army of General von Woyrsch, whose objective was the mighty 
fortress Ivangorod, operating just to the west of the upper 
Vistula, broke through the Russian wire entanglements and 
stormed the enemy's trenches on a stretch of 2,000 meters. The 
breach was widened in desperate hand-to-hand combat. The 
Teutons by evening inflicted a heavy defeat on the Moscow 
Grenadier Corps at this point and the Russians were forced to 
retreat behind the Ilzanka to the south of Swolen. Some 2,000 
men were taken prisoners by the Germans in this battle and five 
machine guns were captured. 

Far in the northeast in Courland the army of General von 
Billow, on July 17, 1915, defeated Russian forces that had been 
rushed up at Alt-Auz, taking 3,620 prisoners, six cannon and 



three machine guns, and pursuing the Slavs in an easterly- 
direction. Desperate fighting was also taking place to the north- 
east of Kurschany. 

Notes of anxiety mixed with consoling speculations had begun 
to appear in the press of the allied countries when the vast Ger- 
man offensive had thus become plainly revealed and had demon- 
strated its driving force. A Petrograd dispatch to the London 
"Morning Post" on the 15th of July, 1915, said of the German 
plan that it was to catch the Russian armies like a nut between 
nut crackers, that the two fronts moving up from north and south 
were intended to meet on another and grind everything between 
them to powder. The area between the attacking forces was 
some eighty miles in extent, north to south, by 120 miles west 
to east. The writer offered the consolation that this space was 
well fortified, the kernel of the nut "sound and healthy, being 
formed of the Russian armies, inspired not merely with the 
righteousness of their cause, but the fullest confidence in them- 
selves and absolute devotion to the proved genius of their com' 
mander in chief." 

The dispatch pointed out that it was all sheer frontal fighting, 
that the Germans had been twelve months trying frontal attacks^ 
against Warsaw on a comparatively narrow front and in vain. 
What chance had they, he added, "of success by dividing their 
forces against the united strength of Russia." This sort of 
argument is typical of the endeavor to sustain the hopes of 
Russia's friends during these days. Doubts, however, began 
to creep in more strongly as to the possibility of holding 

In Berlin the announcement of the Teutonic victories that 

jgan with the successful assault at Przasnysz was received with 
general rejoicing, and the appearance of flags all over the city. 

le Russian retreat toward the Narew River in particular was 

jgarded by the military critics as threatening momentarily to 
crumble up the right flank of the positions of the Russians before 

le capital of Poland. 
Cholm and Lublin on the southern line of communication of 

LB Russian armies were now in imminent danger. On July 19, 



» > » * - RAILROADS 

I I 1 I 

5 [O 15 



1915, came the announcement that the troops under Field Mar- 
shal von Mackensen, which had pierced the Russian line in the 
region of Pilaskowice and Krasnostav, had increased their suc- 
cesses, and that the Russians were making the most desperate 
effort to prevent complete defeat. All day the battle had swayed 
in a fierce struggle for mastery. The Russians threw a fresh 
division of the Guards into the fight, but this too had to yield to 
the overwhelming force of the Teuton onslaught. Farther to the 
east as far as the neighborhood of Grabowiec, Austro-Hungarian 
and German troops forced the crossing of the Wolica, and near 
Sokal in Galicia Austro-Hungarian troops crossed the Bug. (See 
Austro-Russian Campaign.) In consequence of these Teuton 
successes the Russians on the night of the 18th to the 19th of 
July retreated along the whole front between the Vistula and the 
Bug — practically the last line of defense, for the Warsaw-Kiev 
railway had been broken down. The German troops and the 
corps under the command of Field Marshal von Arz alone from 
the 15th to the 18th of July, 1915, took 16,250 prisoners and 23 
machine guns. 

It was announced by the Germans that according to written 
orders captured during this action the Russian leaders had re- 
solved to hold the positions here conquered by the Germans to 
the utmost, regardless of losses. 

The same day that brought the report of this Russian retreat 
on the south brought the news that in the adjoining sector to the 
west of the Upper Vistula the army of General von Woyrsch had 
met resistance from the Russians behind the Ilzanka after the 
Russian defeat on July 13, 1915, that, however, Silesian Land- 
wehr on the 18th had captured the Russian defenses at Ciepilovo 
by storm, and that the Russian line at Kasonow and Barenow 
was beginning to yield. The army of General von Gallwitz had 
now taken up positions along the whole Narew line from south- 
west of Ostrolenka to Novo Georgievsk. The Russians, how* 
ever, as already indicated, were still holding fortified places and 
bridgeheads on the right bank of the river. In this sector the 
number of prisoners taken by the Germans had risen to 101 
officers and 28,760 men. 


In the sector next adjoining, passing onward around the en- 
veloping lines, that lying between the Pissa and the Szkwa, the 
Russians likewise had retreated until they stood directly on the 
Narew. Here the Slavs had been favored by forests and swampy 
land which made pursuit difficult. 

At the extreme left end of the German line a magnificent suc- 
cess had been achieved in the occupation of Tukkum and Windau. 
This capture brought the Germans to within fifty miles of Riga, 
seat of the governor general of the Baltic provinces. They were, 
however, destined not to make any substantial progress in the 
direction of that city for many months to come. 

Blow fell upon blow. The question "Can Warsaw be held?" 
began to receive doubtful answers in the allied capitals. The 
colossal coordinate movement of the Teutonic forces in these 
July days had received so little check from the Russian resistance 
that the British press had begun to discount the fall of the 
Polish capital. Shortness of ammunition and artillery was 
ascribed as the cause of Russia's failure to make a successful 
stand against the onrushing Teutons. 

On July 20, 1915, Berlin announced the capture of those forti- 
fications of Ostrolenka lying on the northwest bank of the 
Narew River. This was one of the strong places designed to pro- 
tect the Warsaw-Grodno-Petrograd railway. The threatened 
fall was highly significant. To the south of the Vistula the 
Teuton troops had advanced to the Blonie-Grojec lines. Blonie 
is some seventeen miles west of Warsaw and Grojec twenty-six 
miles south of the city. 

Farther eastward and to the south troops of the army of Gen- 
eral von Woyrsch had completely turned the enemy out of the 
Ilzanka positions, having repulsed the counterattacks of the 
Russian reserves which had been quickly brought up, and cap- 
tured more than 5,000 prisoners. Von Woyrsch"s cavalry had 
now reached the railway line from Radom to the great fortress 
of Ivangorod, the objective point of this army, and Radom itself 
had been seized. 




SO uncertain had grown the positions of Lublin on the south- 
em railway line leading to Warsaw that the Russian com- 
mander in chief had issued an order that in case of a retreat the 
male population of the town was to attach itself to the retiring 

On July 21, 1915, the Russians throughout the empire were 
reported to be joining in prayer. "Yesterday evening," tele- 
graphed the London "Daily Mail's" Petrograd correspondent on 
the 21st, "the bells in all the churches throughout Russia clanged 
a call to prayer for a twenty-four hours' continual service of 
intercession for victory. 

"To-day, in spite of the heat, the churches were packed. Hour 
after hour the people stand wedged together while the priests 
and choirs chant interminable litanies. Outside the Kamian 
Cathedral here an open-air Mass is being celebrated in the pres- 
ence of an enormous crowd." 

The chronicle of the closing days of July, 1915, is an un- 
broken narrative of forward movements of German armies on 
all parts of the great semicircle. The movement now, however, 
was slow. The Russians were fighting desperately, and the 
Germans had to win their way inch by inch. By the 21st the 
Russians were withdrawing in Courland to the east of the line 
Popeljany-Kurtschany, and the last Russian trenches westward 
of Shavly had been taken by assault. To the north of Novgorod 
the capture of Russian positions had yielded 2,000 prisoners and 
two machine guns to the Germans on the 20th. 

Farther south on the Narew a strong work of the fortress 
Rozan defending an important crossing was stormed by the 
Germans, and desperate fighting was going on at Pultusk and 
near Georgievsk. Already the Russians were beginning to yield 
their positions to the west of Grojec, which meant that the 
Teuton armies were about to push into the opening between 


Warsaw and Ivangorod and divide the Russian forces. The 
armies of Von Woyrsch on July 20, 1915, seized a projecting 
bridgehead to the south of Ivangorod, and captured the Hnes that 
had been held by the Russians near Wladislavow. 

In the positions defending the railway between Cholm and 
Lublin, Russian resistance was once more marked, and was 
checking the progress of the armies of Von Mackensen and Arch- 
duke Joseph Ferdinand. 

By noon of July 21, 1915, the Silesian troops of Von Woyrsch 
had stormed the bridgehead on the Vistula between Lagow and 
Lugawa-Wola, with the result that Ivangorod was now inclosed 
from the south, while to northwest of the fortress Austro-Hun- 
garian troops were lighting on the west bank of the Vistula. 
Austro-Hungarian troops too were battling their way close up to 
the fortress directly from the west. Line after line was giving 
way before the Teutons. The Russian retreat over the bridge at 
Novo Alexandria to the south of Ivangorod was carried on under 
the fire of German artillery. Numerous villages set afire by the 
Russians were now sending great clouds of smoke into the sky 
over all this region. 

The troops of the Archduke Joseph Ferdinand, after a stub- 
born resistance on the part of the Russians, seized enemy posi- 
tions on July 21, 1915, near Chodel and Borzechow, ad- 
vancing another step toward Lublin. Eight thousand Russian 
prisoners, 15 machine guns, and 4 ammunition wagons were 

By the 23d of July, 1915, the Teutonic troops were close up to 
the encircling forts of Ivangorod and stood on the Vistula all the 
way between the fortress and the mouth of the Pilica. On the 
24th the Teutons announced a victory over the Fifth Russian 
Army by General von Biilow at Shavli. The report read : "After 
ten days of continuous fighting, marching, and pursuit, the Ger- 
man troops yesterday succeeded in brmging the Russians to a 
stand in the regions of Rozalin and Szadow and in defeating them 
and scattering their forces. The booty since the beginning of this 
operation on the 14th of July consists of 27,000 prisoners, 25 
cannon, 40 machine guns, more than 100 loaded ammunition 


wagons with their draft animals, numerous baggage wagons and 
other material." 

This day brought the announcement also of the capture of the 
fortresses of Rozan and Pultusk on the Narew, after violent 
charges by troops of General von Gallwitz. The crossing of the 
Narew between these places was now in German hands, and 
strong forces were advancing on the southern shore. The Rus- 
sians had been resisting obstinately in this quarter, and the Ger- 
mans had made their way only by the most heroic efforts. Ger- 
man headquarters announced at this time that in the battles 
between the Niemen and the Vistula covering the ten days since 
July 14, 1915, more than 41,000 prisoners, 14 cannon, and 19 ma- 
chine guns had been captured. The German troops now also 
attained the Vistula to the north of the Pilica. In their summing 
up of results since the 14th of July the Teutons recounted 
further on this day, the 24th, that some 50,000 prisoners had 
been taken by the armies of General von Woyrsch and Field 
Marshal von Mackensen during the period. 

The army of Archduke Joseph Ferdinand had been making 
rapid progress. On July 24, 1915, under the attacks of these 
troops the Russians retreated on a front of forty kilometers, 
between the Vistula and the Bistritza, from eight to ten kilo- 
meters northward to prepared lines, their attempts to halt in 
intermediate positions being frustrated by the onrush of the 
victorious Teutonic forces in pursuit. 

By July 25, 1915, the Narew had been crossed by the Germans 
along its whole front, southward from Ostrolenka to Pultusk, 
and by the 26th they had gained the farther side of the Narew 
above Ostrolenka likewise. The troops moving southeast from 
Pultusk now approached the Bug, getting toward the rear of 
Novo Georgievsk and Warsaw, and threatening to close the 
Russians' Hne of escape, the Warsaw-Bielostok railway. 

On July 26, 1915, the Russians made a determined counter- 
offensive from the line of Goworowo-Wyszkow-Serock in an 
effort to remove the threat to the rear of Warsaw. This, how- 
ever, had little success, the Hp'^'sians losing 3,319 men to the 
Germans in prisoners. 


To the south of Warsaw the Germans had seized the villages 
of Ustanov, Lbiska, and Jazarzew, which brought them nearly 
to the Vistula, just below the capital. 

The great attacks of the Germans on the troops defending 
Warsaw were being hampered to some extent by the laying waste 
of the country by the retiring Russians. Difficulty in moving 
heavy artillery on roads had also interfered with their progress, 
but on the morning of July 28, 1915, Von Woyrsch crossed to the 
eastern shore of the Vistula between the mouth of the Pilica and 
Kozienice at several places, and was threatening the Warsaw- 
Ivangorod railway. 

Novo Georgievsk was steadily being inclosed. The Russian 
counterthrusts in the neighborhood of Warsaw both on the north 
and the south of the city were repelled by night and day. To the 
south near Gora-Kalvaria a desperate attempt of the Russians 
to push forward toward the west on the night from July 27th to 
the 28th, 1915, was shattered. 

The armies of Field Marshal von Mackensen, breaking 
through Russian positions to the west of the Wieprz, captured 
thousands of prisoners and many guns, and once more thrust 
back the Russian front between the Vistula and the Bug. On 
the evening of the 29th they attained the Warsaw-Kiev railway 
at Biskupice, about halfway between Lublin and Cholm, thus 
crowning their efforts to get astride their important line of com- 
munications. The Russians were destroying everything of value 
in the country as they retired, even burning grain in the fields. 

On the afternoon of July 30, 1915, Lublin at last was occupied 
by the army of the Archduke Joseph Ferdinand, and on the 31st 
the Germans of Von Mackensen passed through Cholm. Thus 
the Teutonic armies were now across the important railway 
from Warsaw and Ivangorod to Kiev, on a broad front, running 
all the way down to the Vistula at Novo Alexandria. In Cour- 
land the Germans continued to push forward, so that on the 12th 
of August they were enabled to seize the important railway 
center Mistan. 

Hope in Russia died hard. Press correspondents up to July 
29, 1915, still spoke of the possibility of the Russians standing a 


siege in their principal fortress on the Warsaw saHent. On the 
29th, however, reports came from Petrograd that the fortresses 
of the Warsaw defense were to be abandoned and the capital of 
Poland given up to the army. 

The correspondent of the New York "Times" on July 29, 1915, 
in a special cable summed up the situation in an announce- 
ment that the fate of Europe hung on the decision that Russia 
might make on the question : "Shall Russia settle down to a war 
of position in her vast fortifications around Warsaw, or shall she 
continue to barter space against time, withdrawing from the line 
of the Vistula and points on it of both strategic and political 
importance, in order to gain the time which Germany has already 
stored in the form of inexhaustible gun munitions?" The reply 
was the evacuation of Warsaw. 

The decisive blow to Russia's hopes came with the crossing of 
the Vistula about twenty miles north of Ivangorod on July 28, 
1915, already noted. It showed that Warsaw was being rapidly 
surrounded. The Russian communique of the 30th of July told 
of the crossing over of the Teutons on both sides of the Radomka, 
a tributary of the Vistula, to the right bank of the Vistula on 
pontoons, and of attempts to throw bridges across the great 
rivers. Von Woyrsch's troops that had crossed over were irre- 
sistibly pursuing still farther east on the 30th, defeating troops 
hastily brought up to stop their advance. By August 1 two entire 
German army corps reached the right bank of the Vistula. Ivan- 
gorod, now threatened from all directions, could evidently not be 
held much longer. 

The fortress surrendered on August 4, 1915, after a violent 
bombardment of the outer forts had taken place, beginning on 
the first of the month. Austro-Hungarian troops under General 
von Koevess especially distinguished themrelves in the attack ^^ 
the west front. 




THE retreat from Warsaw began during the night of August 
3 and 4, 1915. Already the city had been stripped as far as 
possible, to judge by reports from Petrograd, of metals, such as 
church bells and machinery that might possibly be of use to the 
Germans. A portion of the civilian population left the city. The 
Blonie line just to the west of the capital was given up under 
pressure from the Teutons on the 3d. While the retreat was 
taking place the Russians gave all possible support to their forces 
defending the Narew lines, so far as ^hey still were maintained. 

Desperate charges were hurled by the Russians against the 
Germans moving forward all along the front Lowza-Ostrow- 
Wyszkow. The bravery of the Russians, especially in their 
counterattacks on both sides of the road from Rozan to Ostrow 
on the 4th of August, won the admiration of the Germans. 

The correspondent of the London "Times" reports that on 
August 4, 1915, there was probably not over one Russian corps 
on the west side of the Vistula. "Half of that crossed south of 
Warsaw before 6 p. m.," he writes, "and probably the last divi- 
sion left about midnight, and at 3 a. m. on August 5 the bridges 
were blown up. The Germans arrived at 6 a. m." The formal 
entry of the Polish capital was made by Prince Leopold of 
Bavaria as Commander in Chief of the army which took the city. 

The formal announcement issued by the German Great Head- 
quarters on the 5th of August read : "The army of Prince Leo- 
pold of Bavaria pierced and took yesterday and last night the 
outer and inner lines of forts of Warsaw in which Russian rear 
guards still offered stubborn resistance. The city was occupied 
to-day by our troops." 

In the capture of Warsaw seven huge armies had been em^ 
ployed. The German northern army, operating against the 
double-track line which runs from Warsaw to Petrograd, 1,000 
miles in the northeast, via Bielostok and Grodno; the army 

TiiiHiiiinMiiiiiiiMiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiini I 




lo 20 30 -"vo so 



< I 


24— War St. 3 


operating in the Suwalki district, threatening the same line 
farther west; the army aimed at the Narew based on Mearva ; the 
army directly aimed at Warsaw, north of the Vistula; the 
(Ninth) army directly aimed at Warsaw, south of the Vistula; 
ten or twelve Austrian army corps attempting to reach the 
single- and double-track railway from Ivangorod to Brest-Litovsl« 
and Moscow, and the line from Warsaw to Kiev via Lublin 
and Cholm, which is for the most part a single track, and, finally, 
the army of Von Linsingen, operating on the Lipa east of 

The campaign for Warsaw had been fought along a front of 
1,000 miles, extending from the Baltic to the frontier of Ru- 
mania. An estimate which lays claim to being based upon 
authoritative figures placed the number of men engaged in 
almost daily conflict on this long line at between 6,000,000 and 
7,000,000. The attacks upon the sides of the lines on which the 
defense of Warsaw depended had been the most furious in the 
course of the war on the eastern front. The losses on both sides 
undoubtedly were enormous, though they can be ascertained 
only with difficulty, if at all. 

The following summary of captures was issued by the German 
Great Headquarters on August 1, 1915: "Captured in July be- 
tween the Baltic and the Pilica, 95,023 Russians ; 41 guns, includ- 
ing two heavy ones ; 4 mine throwers ; 230 machine guns. Taken 
in July in the southeastern theatre of war (apparently between 
Pilica and the Rumanian frontier) : 323 officers ; 75,719 men ; 10 
guns; 126 machine guns." 




IN discussing the causes of the Great War in Vol. I 
we have already shown how important a part the little 
Balkan States played in the long chain of events leading up to 
the final catastrophe. When two mighty lords come to blows 
over the right of way through the fields of their peasant neigh- 
bors, it is only natural that the peasants themselves should be 
deeply concerned. While it is not likely that any of them would 
feel especially friendly toward either of the belligerents, it might, 
however, be to their advantage to take a hand in the struggle on 
the side of the victor. But until each thought he had picked the 
V^inner he would hold aloof. 

This was, in fact, the situation of all the Balkan States when 
the Great War began, with the exception, of course, of Serbia, 
which had been directly attacked. Rumania, Bulgaria, and Greece 
very hastily announced their complete neutrality to each other 
as well as to the world at large, though Greece was in the very 
awkward position of having signed a defensive treaty with 

Though the Balkan situation has always been considered very 
complicated, certain broad facts may be laid down which will 
serve as a key to a fair understanding of the motives behind each 
of the various moves being made on the Balkan chess board. 

First of all, it must be realized that popular sentiment plays 
a much smaller part in Balkan politics than it does in such 
countries as England, France and our own country. Though 


each is more or less democratic in form, none of these govern- 
ments is really controlled by its people in matters requiring such 
quick decisions as war. At the head of each of the Balkan States 
is a monarch surrounded by a governing clique who have full 
authority in military matters. Each of these cliques has only 
one aim in mind : How shall it increase the area of its territory, 
or at least save itself frr^m losing any of what it already con- 

Rumania, being of Latin blood, has no natural affinity with 
either of the big fighting powers that concern her: Austria or 
Russia. In her case, therefore, sympathy may be entirely 
eliminated. She does, however, covet a piece of Austrian ter- 
ritoiy, Transylvania, in which there is a substantial Rumanian 
population which has always been rather badly treated by Austria. 

Bulgaria, like Russia, is Slavic. Added to that, Bulgaria owes 
her freedom to Russian arms. Because of these two reasons 
there is a very strong sentiment among the people in favor of 
Russia. Russian political intrigues during the past thirty years 
have done a great deal, however, in undermining this kindly 
feeling among the more intelligent Bulgarians. And then Rus- 
sia's ambition to possess herself of the Bosphorus as an outlet 
into the Mediterranean is directly contrary to the ambitions of 
the governing clique of Bulgaria, which also has its eyes on 

Toward the Austrians the Bulgarians feel nothing but dislike: 
"Schwabs," they call them contemptuously. Moreover, Austria's 
contemplated pathway to Saloniki would cut down through 
Macedonia, another territory coveted by Bulgaria. Ferdinand, 
King of Bulgaria, however, is a German by birth and training. 

Greece, like Rumania, is also racially isolated. She fears 
Russia for the same reason that Bulgaria does ; Greece is deter- 
mined that Constantinople shall one day be hers. And she fears 
Austria because Austria's pathway would even take Saloniki 
from her. And finally she fears Italy because Italy has ambitions 
in Asia Minor and Albania. All the belligerents seem to be 
treading on the toes of Greece. 

It will be seen, therefore, that the diplomatic game was an 
especially delicate one in the Balkans. Being comparatively 


weak, these small states cannot fight alone for themselves. Their 
selfish ambitions, or of their governing cliques rather, make a 
combination impossible. Their only chance is to bargain with 
the winner at the right moment. 

During the first half year of the war there was very little for 
the Balkan diplomats to do but lie low and watch ; watch for the 
first signs of weakening of either the Allies or the Teutons. To 
be sure, Turkey threw in her lot with the Teutons during this 
period, but German control of the Turkish machinery of govern- 
ment and the army appears to have been so strong that it 
seems doubtful whether Turkish initiative was much of a factor 
in the move. 

One of the first moves by the Teutonic Powers through Aus- 
tria-Hungary was the attempted invasion of Serbia, by which 
they hoped to eliminate her from the field and also to swing the 
other Balkan States, especially Bulgaria, over to their side. And 
had Austria succeeded in penetrating the peninsula through 
Serbia, there can hardly be any doubt that the effect would have 
been immediate. 

But the invasion by Austria, attempted three times, was an 
abject failure. At the end of five months a whole Austrian army 
corps had been annihilated by the Serbians and the rest of the 
huge invading armies had been driven back across the Danube 
and Save. Following close upon this came the extraordinary suc- 
cess of the Russians in Bukowina and in the Carpathians, which 
placed Hungary in immediate danger of being invaded. The 
cause of the Allies began to look promising and the machinery of 
Balkan diplomacy began slowly to revolve. 

Meanwhile the principal efforts of the Entente statesmen had 
been directed toward effecting a reconciliation between Bulgaria 
and the other Balkan States which, she maintained, had robbed 
her of Macedonia. Indeed, it may well be said that the Treaty 
of Bucharest, whereby the Macedonian Bulgars were largely 
handed over to Serbia, and Greece was, and continued to be, the 
main stumblingblock in the path of the Allies to bring Bulgaria 
around to a union with Serbia and Greece and Rumania, for 
Rumania had also picked Bulgaria's pockets while she was down, 


by taking a strip of territory at the mouth of the Danube. In 
this she had not even had the excuse of reclaiming her own 
people, for here were none but pure Bulgarians. 

In January, 1915, Rumania began to show signs of shaping 
a definite policy that might later lead her to taking sides. Her 
King, Carol, a Hohenzollem by blood, had died shortly after 
the war and his nephew, Ferdinand, ascended the throne on 
October 11, 1914. Possibly he may have had something to do 
with the change. At any rate, though Rumania had previously 
accepted financial assistance from Austria, in January she re- 
ceived a loan of several millions from Great Britain, most of 
which was spent on the army, then partly mobilized. 

At the same time negotiations of a tentative nature were 
opened by the Foreign Office with Russia offering to throw the 
Rumanian troops into the conflict on the side of the Allies for a 
certain consideration. This consideration was that she receive 
Bukowina, part of the province of Banat, and certain sections 
of Bessarabia populated by Rumanians. The Allies considered 
these demands extortionate, and the negotiations were pro- 
tracted. When the Austrians and Germans, later in the spring, 
succeeded in driving the Russians out of the Carpathians, 
Rumania hastily dropped these negotiations and seated herself 
more firmly on top of the fence. And so, under the guidance of 
Bratiano, her prime minister, she has continued throughout the 
whole year, listening to proposals, first from one side, then from 
the other, but always carefully maintaining her neutral position. 

Bulgaria had, at about the same time, accepted a loan from 
Germany. Attempts were made at the time to explain away 
the political significance of the transaction by representing the 
advance as an installment of a loan the terms of which had 
been arranged before the beginning of the war, but the essen- 
tial fact was that the cash came from Germany at a time 
when she was herself calling in all the gold of her people into the 
Imperial treasury. 

Bulgaria now plainly let it be understood under what condi- 
tions she would join a union of the Balkan neutrals against the 
Teutonic Powers. Her premier, Radoslavov, head of the Bui- 



garian Liberal Party, whose policy has always been anti-Rus- 
sian, is one of the most astute politicians in the Balkans, and this 
description is equally true of King Ferdinand as a monarch. 
These two stated definitely Bulgaria's price; that part of Ma- 
cedonia which was to have been allowed to her by the agreement 
which bound her to Serbia and Greece during the first Balkan 
War; the Valley of the Struma, including the port of Kavalla, 
that part of Thrace which she herself had taken from Turkey, 
and the southern Dobruja, the whole of the territory Rumania 
had filched from her while her back was turned during the two 
Balkan wars. 

The Entente Powers held council with the other Balkan 
States, each of which had taken its share of booty from Bulgaria. 
In order to persuade them to consent to Bulgaria's terms, they 
suggested certain compensations for the concessions they were 
asked to make. To Serbia, which, in spite of her very precarious 
situation at the time, was very averse to returning any part of 
her Macedonian territory, they pointed out that she could find 
compensation in adding to her territory Bosnia, Herzegovina and 
the other Slav provinces of Austria, where the population was 
truly Serb. To Rumania, which was already willing to meet Bul- 
garia half way, they promised Transylvania and Bukowina. To 
Greece, which had done less and gained more than any of the 
other states during the two Balkan Wars and so could afford to 
be generous, they held out the prospect of gaining a considerable 
area in Asia Minor, thickly populated by Greeks. 

These changes naturally all depended on the complete defeat 
of the Teutonic Powers, but Bulgaria demanded that at least 
some, and especially Serbian Macedonia, should be handed over 
to her at once. 

This latter demand brought about strong opposition. The 
)ther Balkan States considered that, granting even that all these 
concessions were to be promised to Bulgaria, she should not 
expect their fulfillment until she had earned them by helping to 
defeat the Teutonic Powers. 

Venizelos, the premier of Greece, and probably the most broad- 
minded statesman in the Balkans, stated that, on the part of 


Greece, concessions to Bulgaria were possible, though, as de* 
veloped later, in this he did not have the backing of the King 
and the rest of the governing clique. In February no progress 
in the negotiations had been made, though a special French Com- 
mission, headed by General Pau, visited all the Balkan capitals 
and tried to bring about a mutual agreement. 

At about that time another important military event occurred, 
especially affecting the Balkans; the warships of the Entente 
began bombarding the forts in the Dardanelles and it seemed 
that Constantinople was presently to fall into their hands. Not 
long after Venizelos stated, in an interview, that he was privy 
to this action and proposed to send 50,000 Greek soldiers to 
assist the Allies by a land attack on the Turks. 

The Greek General Staff, however, immediately declined to 
support Venizelos. Such a campaign, it declared, was impossible 
unless Greece first had strong guarantees that Bulgaria would 
not take the opportunity to invade Greek Macedonia and fall 
on the flank of the Greek army operating against the Turks. 
Venizelos thereupon approached . Bulgaria and was told that 
Bulgaria would remain neutral if Greece would cede most of her 
Macedonian conquests, which would include Kavalla, Drama, and 
Serres, which stretch so provokingly eastward along the coast 
and hold Bulgaria back from the sea. 

Venizelos attempted to compromise, and here he was caught be- 
tween two obstacles. Bulgaria absolutely refused to recede one 
inch from her demand ; and, on the other hand, the Greek govern- 
ing clique suddenly refused to consider any proposal that would 
mean the cession of any territory at all to the hated Bulgars. 
What probably stiffened the opposition of the other members of 
the Greek Government to the Turkish campaign was the grow- 
ing suspicion on their part that the Allies were also negotiating 
with Italy for her support. Now it was obvious that if Italy 
was to fight in the Near East, she meant to demand a good price. 
And this looked bad for Greece. Greece and Italy had already 
nearly come to blows over their clashing interests in southern 
Albania, yet even this was a small matter compared to rivalry 
in the -^gean and Asia Minor. What deepened these suspicions 


was the fact that the Allies refused to indicate definitely just 
what territory Greece was to have in return for her support 
against the Turks. Their promise of '^liberal compensation" was 
not at all definite enough. Only Venizelos was satisfied with this 
promise ; he was in favor of trusting implicitly to Anglo-French 

To bring this deadlock to a conclusion King Constantine called 
a Royal Council, and by this body the matter was thoroughly dis- 
cussed during the first few days of March. The Council, together 
with the king, decided against supporting the Allies actively on 
such terms. On the morning of March 6 Venizelos called at the 
British legation in Athens to say that the opposition of the 
king made it impossible to fulfill his promise. That night he 

The fall of Venizelos was, naturally, a heavy blow to the Allies. 
He was succeeded by Gounaris, an ex-Minister of Finance, who 
announced his policy as one of strict neutrality. Venizelos was 
so deeply mortified that he declared that he would withdraw 
permanently from public life, and then left Greece. 

April, 1915, opened with an occurrence that seemed to throw 
a strong light on the attitude of Bulgaria. On the night of the 
second day of the month a large force of Bulgar Comitajis made 
a raid over the southeastern frontier of Serbia, and, after at- 
tacking successfully the Serbian outposts and blockhouses, in an 
attempt to cut the railroad, by which Serbia was getting war 
supplies from the Allies, they were repelled by the Serbians, 
though only after severe fighting. 

Serbia and Greece both protested loudly, but Bulgaria affirmed 
that she had had nothing to do with the matter. 

As has developed since, Bulgaria had by this time definitely 
decided to strike for the Teutonic allies when the right moment 
should come. Already back in January, 1912, a secret treaty 
had been negotiated between Bulgaria and Germany. This was 
signed a little later by Prince Biilow and M. Rizoff at Rome. 
There were more reasons than one for keeping this secret. For 
within the Bulgarian Parliament there was a strong opposition 
to the German policy of Ferdinand and Radoslavov, led by 


Malinoff, chief of the Democratic party, and Stambulovski, chief 
of the Agrarian party, an opposition so bitter and determined 
that the king had good reason to fear an open revolution should 
he openly declare himself for the Germans. 

On May 29, 1915, the Allies again sent a note to Bulgaria, 
making proposals which comprised the results of their efforts to 
obtain concessions from the other Balkan States. On June 15 
Radoslavov sent a reply, asking for further information, obvi- 
ously drawn up in order to gain time. 

Meanwhile, on June 11, Venizelos had again appeared in 
Athens, where he received a warm welcome from the populace, 
with whom he was the prime favorite. Within a few days he 
resumed the leadership of the Greek Liberal party and, at a 
general election, which was held shortly after, he showed a 
popular majority support of 120 seats in the Popular Assembly, 
nothwithstanding a determined opposition made by his oppo- 
nents. Before the Balkan wars the Greek Parliament had con- 
sisted of 180 members, but by according representation to the 
districts in Macedonia annexed after the wars the number was 
brought up to 316. Venizelos and his policy in favor of the 
Allies were emphatically indorsed by the Greek suffrage. Natu- 
rally this expression of the people's voice was a smart blow at 
the king and his councillors. On the other hand, they were en- 
couraged by an unfavorable turn that was now taking place in 
the military operations of the Allies. 

The attack on the Dardanelles by the warships had been a de- 
cided failure. Nor were the operations of the British troops on 
the peninsula of Gallipoli meeting with any real success. The 
Austrians and the Germans had driven the Russians back from 
the Carpathians and had retaken Przemysl and Lemberg. In 
fact, the situation of the Austro-German armies had now become 
so favorable that it was possible for the Teutonic allies to make 
proposals to the Balkan States with a fair chance of being 
listened to. 

During July, 1915, Serbia was approached by Germany with an 
offer of a separate peace, but Serbia would not even consider the 


On July 8 Austria delivered a note to Rumania, through the 
Austrian Minister in Bucharest, Count Czemin, which con- 
tained two sets of proposals. One was contingent upon the 
continued but ''friendly'' neutrality of Rumania, the other on 
her active participation in the war on the side of Austria- 

In the first proposal Rumania was promised all of Bukowina 
south of the Seret River, better treatment of the Rumanian popu- 
lation of Austrian territory, the establishment of a Rumanian 
university in Brasso, large admissions of Rumanians into the 
public service of Hungary, and greater liberty of administration 
to the Rumanian churches in Austria. 

The second proposal specified that Rumania should put five 
army corps and two cavalry divisions at the disposal of the 
Austro-Hungarian General Staff to operate against the Rus- 
sians. In return^ Rumania should receive all of Bukowina up to 
the Pruth River, territory along the north bank of the Danube 
up to the Iron Gate, complete autonomy for the Rumanians in 
Transylvania and all of Bessarabia that the Rumanian troops 
should assist in conquering from the Russians. 

Just a week after this note was received in the Rumanian 
capital. Prince Hohenlohe-Langenburg, whose wife was a sister of 
the Queen of Rumania, arrived in Bucharest and tried to induce 
King Ferdinand to come to terms with Austria, or at least to 
allow the transportation of war munitions through the country 
to the Turks, who were then running short of ammunition. The 
king refused this concession. How important it would have 
been, had it been granted, may be judged from the many efforts 
the Germans had made to smuggle material down to Turkey. 
In one case the baggage of a German courier traveling to Con- 
stantinople had been X-rayed and rifle ammunition had been 
found. Again, cases of beer had been opened and found to con- 
tain artillery shells. 

Rumania, however, could not yet make up her mind which 
was going to be the winner. She accepted neither of the Aus- 
trian proposals, and protracted making any definite answer as 
long as possible. 


There was another reason why Rumania wished to continue 
her neutraHty until the following winter, at least. The harvest- 
ing of her great wheat crops would begin soon, and this wheat 
could, as had been done the previous year, be sold to the Germans 
and Austrians at big prices, the blockade of the British fleet 
having already produced a pressing shortage in foodstuffs. And 
then, her conscience being uneasy regarding her robbery of 
territory from Bulgaria, she must also be quite certain how 
Bulgaria was going to turn. 

Having failed at Bucharest, the German agent. Prince Hohen- 
lohe-Langenburg, moved on to Sofia. At that moment King 
Ferdinand of Bulgaria was endeavoring to get Turkey to sign 
A treaty, for which negotiations had been going on secretly for 
some months, by which Bulgaria was to obtain all the Turkish 
land on the west side of the Maritza River, and so free the 
Bulgarian railroad to Dedeagatch from Turkish interference. 
On July 23 this treaty was finally signed, and Bulgaria acquired 
a full right of way along the line. 

Bulgaria was now frankly asking bids for her support from 
both sides. In an interview which the Premier, Radoslavov, 
granted to the correspondent of a Budapest newspaper on 
August 3, 1915, and who remarked to the premier that it was at 
least strange for a nation to carry on such negotiations simul- 
taneously with two groups of powers, he replied : 

"It is these negotiations which give us the chance to make a 
decision. Our country seeks only her own advantages and 
wishes to realize her rights. We have decided to gain these in 
any case. The only question is : How can we achieve this with the 
least sacrifices? As regards the internal situation of Bulgaria, I 
may proudly say that our conditions have improved, and that 
everybody in the country looks forward to the great national 
undertaking we are about to embark on with immense joy and 




rpHE crystallization of popular opinion in favor of intervention 
-L kept pace with the trend of diplomatic negotiations. Italy, 
especially the northern provinces, was a great beehive, humming 
with patriotic fervor. Evenings in almost any northern town 
might be seen companies of young men in civilian dress march- 
ing in companies and maneuvering with military precision. At 
first the organizers of these "training walks," as they were 
called, maintained reticence regarding their purpose. The 
youths, they said, were merely undergoing voluntary training to 
be ready "in case they should be needed." But the purpose of 
these volunteer drills was unmistakable. At times, when the 
drill grounds were rather isolated, the marchers would burst into 
patriotic songs — the hymn of the Garibaldians, or, perhaps 
"Trieste of My Heart." Soon the neutralists began to organize 
counterpreparations. Encounters between bands of the rival 
factions became increasingly frequent, in fact daily occurrences. 
From jeers they passed to scuffles, in which missiles and clubs 
were the weapons. As a rule these encounters took place far 
enough from the city limits to avoid interference by the police, 
and only vague reports of them reached the main body of home- 
loving citizens. 

Milan was the center of these demonstrations. During April, 
1915, the Socialists proclaimed a "general strike," which left a 
large part of the working population idle to attend gatherings 



addressed by the neutralist orator. These meetings generally- 
wound up with a parade, and perhaps a hostile demonstration in 
front of the office of some interventionist newspaper, or cheers 
outside the German Consulate. The next day the Piazza would 
be thronged with a gathering of interventionists wearing the 
national colors entwined with the flag of Trieste, and, perhaps, 
with the "honorable red shirt" of the Garibaldians. During the 
period just before the entrance of Italy into the war these rival 
processions were held on different days by order of the police, 
who ruthlessly broke up any attempt to interfere with assemblies 
entitled to the right of way. As the war party began to gain, 
their opponents adopted the custom of attacking the demonstrants 
after they had disbanded. 

As it was, a mob attacked the Milan branch of the Siemens- 
Schuckert works, the great Berlin electrical machinery factory, 
battered in the main entrance, and exchanged shots with some 
young German employees left in charge. The timely arrival of 
the armed police stopped this riot, and removed the Germans to 
safe quarters. 

At this juncture, or before, the influence of the "Garibaldi" 
movement became widely apparent. Early in the war the Gari- 
baldians had launched a movement to recognize the aid received 
from France by Italy during her War of Independence. A special 
corps of Garibaldi volunteers was enrolled in France, and its 
valiant service in the Alsace campaign, where one of the members 
of the Garibaldi family fell, had a telling effect in Italy. Vol- 
unteers for this corps at once sprang up from all parts of the 

On May 10, 1915, Germans and Austrians throughout Italy 
were advised by their consulates to leave the country. The 
exodus proceeded rapidly, and during the next ten days nearly 
all the citizens of the two Central Powers who were able to leave 
had taken refuge in Switzerland. Italy seemed ripe for war; 
but still the Government delayed. There was now no doubt of 
the popular mind; but events ouside the country were not en- 
couraging. Perhaps the weightiest of these deterring factors 
was news of the Russian retirement in the north and informa- 


tion reaching the Italian Minister of War that the Entente Allies 
were short of ammunition. 

Then came the crisis in the Government. Baron Sonnino's 
denunciation of the Alliance caused a change in the attitude of 
the Austro-Hungarian Foreign Office. Prince von Bulow and 
the Austrian Ambassador, Baron von Macchio, were authorized 
to conclude a new agreement on the basis of further Austrian 
concessions. Sonnino refused to accept the new terms and the 
German and Austrian representatives played their last trump. 
Baron von Macchio telegraphed to Vienna accusing the Italian 
Foreign Minister of concealing information of the Austrian con- 
cessions both from the king and the majority of the cabinet. 
The concessions were printed and circulated widely among the 
people. Signor Giolitti, Salandra's predecessor, and at one time 
all but dictator of Italy, hurried to Rome and rallied his fol- 
lowers. The neutralists hailed him as the man to save Italy 
from a ruinous war. 

Parliament was to meet on May 20, 1915. It was clear that 
the supporters of Giolitti, in majority both in the Senate and 
the Chamber of Deputies, could, if they chose, overthrow the 
Government. Popular anxiety was intense. 

On the evening of May 13, 1915, came the announcement that 
the Salandra ministry had resigned. If there had been any 
doubt of the state of things throughout Italy up to that point, 
this news cleared the situation. The whole country burst into 
a flame of indignation. The next day Italy learned for the first 
time that the Triple Alliance had been denounced early in the 

It became clear that whatever the fate of Salandra and his 
cabinet, his foreign policy was bound to be continued. 

On May 15, 1915, announcement that the king had declined 
to accept Salandra's resignation caused a great popular out- 
burst of joy. In Rome an immense gathering called to protest^ 
against the Giolittians and German influence was transformed 
into a demonstration of triumph; more than 150,000 persons 
took part in a procession a mile long that moved from the 
Piazza del Popolo to the Quirinal. 


The next morning, May 16, 1915, there was nobody in Rome 
who doubted what Italy would do. That day Giolitti left Rome, 
and his departure marked the end of his active influence during 
the opening months of the war. His party crumpled. 

When Parliament met on May 20, 1915, Salandra received 
an overwhelming vote of confidence in the passage of a bill 
conferring extraordinary powers upon the Government in the 
event of war. Miles north of Rome, word came to the Austrian 
commanders, working feverishly to strengthen their forts in 
the fastnesses of the Alps, to brace themselves for the assault. 



ON the night of May 24, 1915, little groups of the Alpini, 
Italy's famous mountain troops, moved silently. They passed 
from San Giorgio, Cividale and Palmanova on the eastern 
frontier, from Paluzza and San Stefano and Pieve on the north, 
from Agordo, Feltre and Asiago, from Brentino and Malcesine 
toward Lake Garda, from Garganano the western shore of 
the lake and from other positions all along the mountain frontier 
up to the Stelvio Pass. 

Marching silently and in single file, by three o'clock in the 
morning of May 25, 1915, one detachment reached a deep trench. 
"Our frontiers," said their officers. "We advance to make new 
ones.'' Then began a long, steep climb up narrow mountain 
paths, through snow lying in patches knee-deep, and through a 
storm of sleet and rain that broke along the Trentino boundary 
before dawn. As dawn broke they hurled themselves upon an 
Austrian shelter trench excavated the autumn before on the 
plateau. It was empty. The enemy had retired only a few hours 
before. The camp-fire ashes were still warm. As the sun began 
to throw the long shadows of the Alpine peaks to the west Aus- 


trian guns crashed out their first salute from the rocky fortresses 
beyond. Italy and Austria-Hungary were at war. 

To comprehend the task before the Italian army it is neces- 
sary to examine the Italian-Austrian frontier. Austria's prob- 
lem was one only of defense. Her warning had been ample 
and when war was declared she was prepared to the last detail. 
Being the challenged party hers was the choice of weapons, and 
she had equipped herself with an almost impregnable line of for- 
tifications. The grievance was Italy's, and hers the duty of 
assault. Every advantage of position lay with Austria. 

The strategic plan of the Italian generals was determined by 
hard geographical facts. The Italo-Austrian frontier is about 
;480 miles long, divided naturally into three sections. On the west 
le Austrian province of Trentino indents Italian territory like 
[a wedge; next comes the great wall of the Dolomites and the 
fCarnic and Julian Alps ; then, on the east, a boundary line run- 
[ning north and south between the main Alpine chain and the 
[Adriatic Sea. Steep mountain heights dominated by Austrian 
[troops guarded the first two parts of this frontier. Only on the 
eastern border, from Pontebba to the Adriatic was Italian offen- 
[sive on a large scale at all feasible; but before offensive opera- 
tions could be started here it was necessary for the Italians to 
fclose the open gates to the north. 

Here in the north lay Italy's problem at the opening of the 

^,war ; and here her armies confronted an almost impossible task. 

[in a word, they had to fight uphill. A salient, such as that formed 

fhy the Trentino, may offer dangers for the side that holds it — 

[an example of which is the Russian position in Poland at the 

[opening of the war ; but the Trentino situation was quite unlike 

that in Poland. The sides of the Trentino were buttressed with 

^mountains. The most tempting avenue of invasion was the 

^valley of the Adige River. An enemy advancing by this route 

["Would find himself confronted with the strongly fortified town 

)f Trent, which long resisted attacks from Venice in the Middle 

Lges. Having forced his way past Trent the enemy would be 

[in a wilderness of lateral valleys with the main ridge of the 

Alpine chain, at the Brenner, still before him. 

^ 25— War St. 3 


On the western side of the Trentino is the lofty Stelvio Pass, 
leading from the Upper Adige to the valley of Adda. This pass 
is 9,000 feet high and its narrow defiles were easily defended. 
To the south lies the pass of Tonale over which runs the road 
from Noce to the Oglio, but this offers similar difficulties. The 
road pass of Comelle, close to Lake Garda, is too narrow for any 
considerable force. On the eastern side of the salient conditions 
for invasion are still worse. The railway from Venice to 
Innsbruck crosses the Valsugana at Tezze, but the Brenta valley 
through which it runs is a difficult road to Trent. Summed up, 
the salient of the Trentino was an ideal position for those who 
held it, both offensive and defensive. The few breaches by 
which invasion could come were a source of strength rather 
than weakness, because they compelled attack from the Italian 
plain to be made on divergent lines from different bases. 

The second part of the frontier is the ramparts of the 
Dolomite and Camic ranges through which an important offen- 
sive was possible for neither belligerent. The main pass, at 
Ampezzo, 5,000 feet high, makes a sharp detour toward the west 
to circumvent the mass of Cristallo, and here the road is a 
narrow defile commanded by a hundred points of danger. The 
adjacent passes of Misurina and the Monte Croce are no better, 
and the defiles to the east contain little more than bridle paths. 
The lowest pass, which leads from the valley of the Fella by 
Pontebba to the upper streams of the Drave and carries the rail- 
way from Venice to Vienna is only 2,615 feet high at its greatest 
elevation. Although this is the easiest of the great routes 
through the mountain barrier, it is still narrow and difficult. 
A modern army given the advantages of time and preparation 
should be able to close and hold it with ease. 

Although the maps show few natural difficulties on the third 
section of the frontier to compare with those farther west, it is 
not the obvious avenue of attack a hasty survey would seem to 
suggest. It is only twenty miles wide and behind it is the line 
of the River Isonzo with hills along its eastern bank. The upper 
part of this stream, above Salcana, is a ravine ; then comes six 
miles of comparatively level ground in front of Gorizia; then 


the hills begin again and sweep round to the seacoast by Mon- 
falcone. What this front lacks in natural defenses had been 
amply supplied before the war opened by Austria with artillery 
and men. Toward this narrow twenty-mile stretch, and 
especially toward the plain before Gorizia, tended, in a sense, 
however, all the operations of the Italian strategists. The 
engagements fought during the first of the Italo-Austrian 
struggle all had their bearing upon the great offensive launched 
later against Gorizia. 

But the natural lay of the land was by no means the only con- 
sideration with which the rival generals had to deal. In respect 
to lateral communications Italy had the advantage. Behind her 
invading armies stretched an elaborate system of railways 
through her northern provinces. Austria had a railway running 
through the whole curve of the frontier, but owing to the dif- 
ficulty of breaking through from the hill valleys this system 
had few feeders. This lack of branch lines meant that Austria 
had to concentrate any offensive at certain definite places — 
Trent, Tarvis, and Gorizia. Italy aimed at these points and one 
more, Franzensfeste, the junction of the Pusterthal line with 
the railway from Innsbruck to Trent. If she could take this 
point she could cut Austria's communications in the whole 
Trentino salient. But Franzensfeste was the most difficult of 
any of these local points for Italy to reach, for south and east of 
it lay the bristling system of the Dolomites. 

The successive revelations of Italian strategy during the first 
months of the war brought few surprises. Austria had her 
hands full in the Carpathians just then and was unable to take 
advantage of the opportunities for swift offensive which her 
frontier positions offered. It was a foregone conclusion that the 
first advance would come from the Italian side and the direction 
of that movement was not long in doubt. Its objective was 
Trieste, the Austrian peninsula, and the hills of Styria which 
sweep to Vienna. There lay the country where modem armies 
could maneuver. At the same time the whole northern boundary 
must be watched to prevent Austrian forces from the Trentino 
cutting the communications of the invader and attacking him 


in the rear. Therefore General Cadoma, the Italian commander 
in chief, resolved to attack at all the salient points. Such a plan 
led to a series of movements — toward Trent, across the Dolomite 
passes against the Pusterthal railway, at the Pontebba Pass, 
and across the Julian Alps to threaten the line between Tarvis 
and Gorizia. Meanwhile the main Italian army was to strike 
at the Isonzo and the road to Trieste. 

The same conditions which made the Austrian frontier lines 
easy to defend also would have given the Central Power a big 
advantage in offensive operations, but for excellent reasons the 
Austrian staff did not attack. In the first place, Austria lacked 
men. The Teutonic war councils concluded that Austro-Hun- 
garian troops were of more value in the great drive then in 
progress against the Russians than they would have been in 
offensive operations against the cities of the northern Italian 
plains. Had the Austrians debouched from their mountain 
strongholds and forced the Italians to concentrate against them 
in Italian territory, as they undoubtedly could have done, the 
benefits of such an enterprise from the standpoint of the alliance 
powers would have been small in proportion to the risks. Only 
a combined drive by both Austria and Germany, it is believed, 
could have gained any telling advantage in northern Italy; and 
Italy, it must be remembered, had not declared war on Germany. 
Ensconced in their mountain fastnesses, the Austrians believed 
they could maintain a successful defensive indefinitely. Then, 
after the Italian armies had exhausted themselves beating 
against the mountain barrier, an opportunity might arise for 
Austrian reprisals. At the time few believed that Italy would 
long be able to maintain her attitude of neutrality regarding 
Germany — an opinion, by the way, which was not supported by 
the developments of the first year of the war. 

The Austrians had months in which to prepare, and they had 
made good use of their time. The natural difficulties confront- 
ing an Italian assault had been enormously increased by trenches 
of steel and concrete. The Austrian engineers had connected 
their elaborate systems of wire entanglements with high-power 
electric stations, and dug mines at all vulnerable points. Heavy 


guns had been moved, at great expenditure of labor, to the 
frontier forts and rails laid on which to move them from place 
to place. The broken nature of the ground afforded ideal oppor- 
tunities for the concealment of artillery positions. It is safe to 
say that nowhere in the whole theatre of the Great War was 
there a line better adapted by nature and equipped by man for 
purposes of defensive warfare. The Austrian Archduke Eugene, 
who was in charge of the Italian operations, revealed his plan 
of campaign during the first few days after the beginning of 
hostilities. His aim was to risk nothing until Field Marshal 
von Mackensen had finished his operations in Galicia, where 
Austria's best troops were fighting with their German allies. 
To meet the Italians he had only the Landsturm and a few 
reserve divisions, but these were considered enough. The arch- 
duke resolved to hold the crests of the passes along the Trentino 
frontier and the line of the Camic Alps, withdrawing his out- 
posts before the enemy's advance. On the Isonzo he would 
abandon the country west of the river line and make his stand 
on a fortified line to the east which touched the Isonzo only at 
Gorizia, where the Austrians held the bridgehead on the western 

It has been pointed out in preceding pages that not a little 
of Italy's delay in entering the war, and of the tortuous diplo- 
matic negotiations which for several months kept the outside in 
doubt as to her ultimate intentions, was due to the state of 
military unpreparedness confronting the country in the summer 
of 1914. But by May, 1915, the country had had nine months 
in which to get ready. Moreover, she had been able to profit 
by the lessons of the war. When Italy started to get ready there 
was no waste motion, although the task to be accomplished 
entailed enormous labor and expense. 





AT the head of the Italian army and navy was the king, 
- Victor Emmanuel, a monarch whose gallantry and simplicity 
had made him a popular idol. Popularity with the people meant 
also popularity with the army. The chief of the General Staff 
was General Count Luigi Cadorna. At the outbreak of the war 
General Cadorna was sixty-five years old. As a young man 
he had seen service under his father, Rafaele Cadorna, who, in 
September 1870, led an army into papal territory and blew in 
the Porta Pia. He had been a corps commander at Genoa. In 
1914 he had succeeded General Pollio as chief of the General 

Cadorna was the Von Hindenburg of Italy. As the German 
commander had studied the bogs of East Prussia, so he had 
devoted a large part of his life to becoming familiar with the 
broken line of Italy's northern frontier. He was known through- 
out Europe for his writings on military science. 

The beginning of the war found the Italian navy far better 
equipped than the army. For the task of holding Austria in 
the Adriatic, which Italy now took over from France, she pos- 
sessed four dreadnoughts and two more almost ready. Sha 
possessed also ten battleships of the predreadnought class and 
a number of older vessels. Compared with those of Great Bri- 
tain and Germany, her armored cruisers were slow, none of 
them being capable of a speed exceeding twenty-two knots ; but 
she had twenty submarines, forty destroyers and a large number 
of torpedo boats. Compared with the Austro-Hungarian fleet, 
the Italian navy showed on paper a distinct superiority. Its 
admiral in chief, the Duke of the Abruzzi, ranked among the 
most brilliant men of his time, not only as a naval man, but 
as a scientist, explorer, and man of affairs. He was first cousin 
of the king. 


By May, 1915, General Cadoma virtually had remade the 
Italian army. Nine months earlier Italy's military forces were 
anything but prepared. There was a shortage in every kind of 
munitions, stores, and equipment. This was plainly evidenced 
when General Porro had refused an offer of the portfolio of 
Minister of War in the spring of 1914 because he was unable 
to obtain a pledge for the adoption of a program of reequipment 
that demanded a great expenditure of money. The late Govern- 
ment had not made good the expenditure of material caused by 
the Lybian War, and great quantities of stores had been allowed 
to deteriorate until they were almost valueless. There was a 
certain number of guns of medium caliber, but no heavy artillery 
of the modern type which the Teutonic allies soon showed they 
possessed in abundance. Of machine guns Italy had a lower 
proportion than any other of the great powers. All this had 
been realized, but the money to repair these deficiencies was not 
forthcoming until the Italian statesmen knew that they were 
on the brink of war. 

Filling the gaps in the army, raising it from a peace to a 

war footing, was an easier matter. The Italian military law 

provided automatically for this increase. Every Italian citizen 

able to bear arms is liable to military service. Recruits are 

called in the year during which they become twenty years old, 

although volunteers are accepted as young as eighteen. The last 

Italian census, in 1911, gave Italy a population of 34,686,683 and 

the levy lists of that year totaled 487,570. By the close of the 

year 1914, when the mobilization began, it is reasonable to sup- 

)ose that the population had grown to something like thirty-six 

>r thirty-seveh million, with a corresponding increase in the 

lumber available for military service. The peace strength of 

[the army was 14,000 of!ice?:*s and 271,000 men. Mobilization 

[added to each of the twelve corps a division of Mobile Militia 

[bringing its strength up to 37,000 men and 134 guns. The 

[army's war strength was about 700,000 in the first line — from 

the two classes of the regular army — and 320,000 in the Mobile 

Militia with a reserve of more than 2,000,000 in the Territorial 

Militia. The force of trained men that Italy put into the field 


at the beginning of hostilities, therefore, numbered something 
over 1,000,000 men. The reservoir of the Territorial Militia 
contained twice as many more untrained men who for some 
reason or other were exempt from military service in times of 
peace, although physically fit to be soldiers. This class was 
designed primarily for garrison duty, guarding railways and 
bridges, but in war time was liable to any service. When the 
mobilization began the men of this class immediately went into 
training. Each of the twelve army corps consisted of two 
divisions of line infantry, a regiment of Bersaglieri (light in- 
fantry corresponding to the French Chasseurs and the German 
Jaegers), a regiment of cavalry, a section of Carabinieri 
(military police), thirty-six field guns and from two to three 
heavy howitzer' batteries. In addition there was the ammuni- 
tion column, telegraph and engineer parks, ambulance and 
supply sections, reserve store and supply sections, and a section 
of field bakery. 

The famous Alpine troops ("Alpini") and the mountain artil- 
lery were not within the organization of the twelve permanent 
army corps. These numbered seventy-eight companies, each of 
256 officers and men on a war footing. The rest of the Italian 
infantry units at normal war strength were as follows: Com* 
pany, 255 officers and men; Battalion, 1,043 officers and men; 
Regiment, 3,194 officers and men. Five of the cavalry regiments 
contained six squadrons, the rest five. The war strength of a 
squadron was 142 officers and men. 

The infantry were armed with a magazine rifle of very small 
caliber, 256-inch. The magazine held six rounds and was loaded 
with a clip. The length of this piece was 4 feet 2% inches, with 
bayonet 5 feet 2i/^ inches. It weighed without bayonet 8 pounds 
6 ounces, and was sighted up to 2,200 yards. The outbreak of 
the war found a process of rearmament going on in the artillery. 
Italy at that time had no adequate siege train and her heaviest 
mobile weapons were 210-millimeter howitzers and 149-mil- 
limeter guns. While the details of the final artillery equipment 
were not made public by the War Department, events showed 
that the Italians were well supplied with modem guns of both 


medium and heavy caliber. The mountain artillery, of which 
there were thirty-nine batteries, was especially efficient, not only 
in ^ns, but in men and transport animals. It was said that the 
Italian artillery mules could drag a gun wherever there was room 
for its emplacement. 

Italy was one of the first countries to use aeroplanes in war, 
and her aviation corps had had experience in Tripoli. Although 
handicapped by lack of money, the Italian military aviators were 
well abreast of their opponents, at least in the theoretical and 
mechanical development of the science. During the winter of 
1914 a considerable increase was made in the personnel of the 
corps and in the number of machines. 

There is reason to believe that at the beginning of the war 
the Italian soldier was not highly regarded by Austrian and 
German military authorities. As a whole the army's reputation 
had been injured by the Adowa disaster and by the slowness 
of the campaign in Tripoli. But the developments of actual 
warfare in the spring and summer of 1915 proved that Italian 
apologists were correct in their claim that in the former war the 
army was handicapped by political causes. Physically the 
Italian troops were equal to any in Europe. The Alpini were 
perhaps the best mountain soldiers in the world. The Italian 
soldier is not impressive as to stature, but he is tough and endur- 
ing. He is cheerful and obedient under discipline and hardship, 
and the relations between officers and men were such as to 
produce the best results in a hard campaign. 

All these qualities were requisite for the difficult task to which 
General Cadorna now turned his first line troops, numbering 
about 700,000 men. To oppose this advance the Austrians 
mustered on the frontier about half that number. General 
von Hofer was chief of staff under Archduke Eugene and 
General Dankl was in command in the Tyrol. 

Two reasons have been advanced to explain the succession of 
small victories with which the Italians opened their campaign. 
The first, already mentioned, is that it was part of the Austrian 
plan to yield their outpost positions with slight resistance and 
protect their numerically inferior forces in the main strongholds 


of the mountains. The other is that the archduke and his 
generals made the mistake of underestimating the enemy. For 
centuries Italy had supplied the Austrian Court with its poets 
and musicians, until in the Dual Monarchy the Italians were re- 
garded as an effete race, fit only for the politer pursuits of art, 
literature and song. Italy's successful War of Independence in 
the latter half of the nineteenth century had not altogether de- 
stroyed this impression. This idea, it may be said, was not 
shared by the Germans, whose military men had made a closer 
study of world conditions and had learned to respect the virility 
of the men of modem Italy. 



OWING to the nature of the scene of hostilities the first days 
of the Austro-Italian campaign brought a series of engage- 
ments between small groups of combatants. Artillery played a 
large part, and here the Austrians, with their big guns already in 
carefully studied positions, had a decided advantage. Viewed as 
a whole only does the campaign at this stage take on an impor- 
tance and dignity that ranks with the great battles on other 
fronts of the Great War. Never before had two great powers 
fought in territory so absolutely ill adapted to the movement of 
large bodies of troops. For the same reason the story attains 
a picturesqueness absent from the dreary plains of Galicia and 
Poland and Flanders. Austrians, Hungarians and Italians 
fought in a land known throughout the world to tourists for its 
grandeur of scenery, its towering, snow-clad peaks, and idyllic 
lakes and valleys. It was warfare where the best soldier was 
the man most able to surmount the natural difficulties and take 
advantage of the natural protection of the ground. The official 
statements of the Italian and Austrian war offices told of feats 
of mountaineering, and of hand-to-hand struggles, of dripping 


bayonets and of combatants locked in last embrace with hands 
clutching each other's throats. 

On both sides of the boundary were thousands of men who 
had spent their lives exploring the trackless mountainsides, 
climbing with ropes and ice axes and staves. Both nations had 
encouraged the formation of Alpine clubs. 

Soon after midnight on May 23, 1915, the Alpini and Ber- 
saglieri of the Italian army, supported by a few battalions of 
first line troops and gendarmes, crossed the mountain frontier. 
Soon the peaks resounded with the popping of rifle fire and the 
louder detonations of the Austrian mountain guns. Along the 
whole Trentino front that night a hundred skirmishes drove 
back the Austrian outpost. Only a few thousand men in all 
were engaged. The Italian cyclist sharpshooters advanced 
swiftly up the steep mountain roads until greeted by musketry 
fire. Then they sought shelter, pushing forward from rock to 
rock and from tree to tree. Often the light infantry and Alpini 
foot soldiers were able to skirt the enemy's posts and catch them 
in the rear. 

By May 26, 1915, all Italy was thrilled by the news that all 
the lower passes of the Dolomites were won and breaches made 
at Tonale Pass along the northwest and in the Carnic and Julian 
Alps along the northeast front. Among the points occupied 
were the Montozzo Pass, 9,585 feet high, Ponte Caffaro, running 
into southwestern Trentino, the ridge of Monte Baldo, extend- 
ing northward fifteen miles toward Arco and Roverto in 
southern Trentino, some of the heights looking westward to- 
ward Trento, all the valleys in the labyrinth of the Dolomites, 
and several footholds in the Alps of Carinthia. The eastern 
army was well inside Austrian territory, its left at Caporetto 
on the Isonzo just under Monte Nero, its center looking down on 
Gorizia from the heights between Indria and the Isonzo, and 
its right between Cormons and Terzo. Losses on both sides were 
surprisingly small considering the extent of territory covered 
by the fighting. The Austrians, after slight resistance, with- 
drew into their fortresses and waited behind their guns, grimly 
conscious that the real struggle was still before them. 


Then, through the holes pierced by the mountain troops, the 
Itahan engineers began to move forward their artillery and 
building emplacements and constructing trenches. Skirmishing 
on the mountain frontier continued until the end of May, 1915. 
By that time Italian forces attacking Trentino had crossed the 
Lessini Mountains north of Verona, captured the Austrian town 
of Ala on the Adige, and penetrated nearly ten miles into Aus- 
trian territory. They held high ground on the south command- 
ing the forts of Roverto, and had begun to bring up their heavy 
guns against this important stronghold. Roverto is one of a 
number of strongly fortified places girdling Trent and command- 
ing the converging routes to this center of the Austrian de- 
fensive. Other lesser fortresses in this girdle are Laredo on 
the Chiese, Levico on the Brenta, and Riva at the head of 
Lake Garda. Upon these the Italians closed in, and there they 
consolidated their positions awaiting the support of the 
first-line troops advancing in heavy detachments, and of their 

While Italy struck the first blow on land, the first offensive 
operation of the Italo-Austrian conflict by sea came from Aus- 
tria. This was an extensive raid on Italy's Adriatic coast. Its 
object was to delay the Italian concentration by attacking vital 
points on the littoral railway from Brindisi to the north. 

The Austrian fleet began its attack early on the morning of 
Monday, May 24, 1915. The ships engaged were a squadron 
from Pola, consisting of two battleships, four cruisers, and 
eighteen destroyers, strongly supported by aircraft. The assault 
extended from Brindisi to Venice, and covered a large extent of 
coast territory hard to defend. At Venice the Austrian air 
raiders dropped bombs into the arsenal and the oil tanks and 
balloon sheds on the Lido. The priceless relics of art and 
architecture, all that remained to recall the city's proud position 
as ruler of the Adriatic, were uninjured, but the attack from the 
air caused an outcry from the nations of the Entente almost equal 
to that which rang through the world when the Germans shelled 
the cathedral at Rheims and destroyed Louvain. The Austrians 
replied that the attack was a serious military operation, and by 








MAY, 1915 


no means the wanton outrage their enemies had tried to make it 

The Austrian naval raid lasted barely two hours, but in that 
time the cruiser Novara and several destroyers attacked Porto 
Corsini, north of Ravenna, in ^ vain effort to destroy the Italian 
torpedo base; the cruiser St. Georg shelled the railway station 
and bridges at Rimini ; the battleship Zrinyi attacked Sinigaglia, 
and wrecked the railway station and bridge ; south of Ancona the 
battleship Radetzky destroyed a bridge over the River Potenza. 
In the south the cruisers Helgoland and Admiral Spaun with 
destroyers shelled a railway bridge and station and several signal 
stations in the neighborhood of Manfredonia and Viesti, and 
caused some damage in small coast towns. The raid was well 
planned and swiftly executed, and it accomplished much of its 
purpose. The Italian fleet was taken by surprise, and the 
marauders were back in safety at Pola by six o^clock in the morn- 
ing, unharmed. 

While Italian Alpine troops were driving in the Austrian out- 
posts on the frontiers of Trentino and the Tyrol, General Cadoma 
advanced his main infantry force, the Third Army, across the 
Friuli Plain through Udine, Palmanova, and St. Georgio toward 
the Isonzo. Here the covering troops on May 24 and 25 had 
captured nearly all the small towns and villages between the 
frontier and the river from Caporetto in the north just below 
Monte Nero to Belvedere in the south on the Gulf of Trieste. 
Cadorna feared lest his opponent. General von Hofer, would 
launch his main attack from Gorizia against the Italian city of 
Palmanova, fourteen miles to the west. But Von Hofer, so it 
developed, had a subtler plan of campaign than a direct attack 
through Gorizia. What he did was to place a strong force on the 
mountain of Korada between the Isonzo and the Judrio. This 
height commanded the middle course of the Isonzo, and it had 
been transformed into a network of permanent trenches, pro- 
tected by strong wire entanglements. 

The Austrian general believed that by the time the Italians 
could bring up their heavy artillery and begin to smash the en- 
tanglements with their field guDs, supports could be pushed across 


the river. Realizing that Korada must be captured, if at all, by 
dash and surprise, the Italian brigadier in charge of the attack 
gathered a herd of fierce bulls, which are numerous in that part 
of Venetia, and penned them in a hollow out of sight of the 
enemy, while his artillery began to bombard the hostile trenchesr 
When the animals were wrought to a frenzy of rage and fear by 
the noise of the guns, they were let loose and driven up the 
mountain against the Austrian positions. Their charge broke 
through many strands of the wire entanglements, and before the 
last of them fell dead under the Austrian rifle fire, Italian troops 
with fixed bayonets had crowded through the gaps in the wires 
and captured the position. 

By the end of May, 1915, the Third Army had reached the 
Isonzo River, but had not crossed. Its advance was slow and 
cautious. Operations were hampered by the heavy rains, which 
caused the river to overflow its banks and added greatly to the 
difficulties put in the path of the advancing army by the Aus- 
trians, who, as they withdrew, left not a bridge behind them. 

Grado, a fishing town of about 5,000 inhabitants, but impor- 
tant on account of its strategic situation, was occupied by the 
Italians with no great difficulty. Grado lies at the head of the 
Adriatic, and is twelve miles from Trieste and sixty from Pola. 
The waters of the lagoons in this neighborhood were valuable to 
the Italians as a safe shelter for submarines and other small war- 
craft, and as a base for a prospective attack later upon Pola 
itself. The inhabitants, most of whom preserved their Italian 
traits and sympathies, although the town had been under Aus- 
trian rule since 1809, hailed the conquerors enthusiastically. 
Cannon and military carriages were decorated with flowers. 
Thousands of Italian flags appeared as if by magic. The enter- 
ing troops were greeted with shouts of "All our lives we have 
been waiting for this moment when we can cry 'Viva Italia !' " 
The possession of Grado gave the Third Army virtual control of 
the mouth of the Isonzo, but the main Austrian position of de- 
fense at Gorizia remained apparently unweakened. 

Scenes like those at Grado were witnessed at Ala, the first Aus- 
trian town of any size and the first railroad center captured by 


the Italians in the Trentino. Ala was occupied May 27, 1915. 
Three days before this the Italian light infantry had massed 
behind the boundary line, and when they began their advance 
along the main highway their first act was to pull down the yellow 
and black pole that marked the frontier. 

The next day, May 28, 1915, the commanding general with his 
chief of staff and two guards motored to the spot, cut a passage- 
way through the barricade, and, encountering no opposition, 
kept on until they reached Ala, seven miles beyond. 

The Italian troops were ordered to advance next day. May 29, 
1915, and as they marched into the town, officers shouted : "Open 
your windows. Long live Italy !" The Mayor of Ala called out 
his townsmen and set them at work removing the barricades on 
the main road. 

In the midst of these rejoicings the sharp rattle of musketry 
was heard, and the Italians rushed to cover. A reconnoitering 
party reported that the Austrians were intrenched in a large 
villa beyond a stream outside the town. The Italian troops began 
an attack upon this position, and a skirmish party sought to take 
a position in a house on a near-by hill commanding the villa held 
by the enemy. Although the way to this house was exposed to 
thQ Austrian fire, the Italian officer decided to risk an attempt 
iio reach it. But as he raised his sword to signal an advance, a 
young girl ran to his side and told him of a path sheltered from 
the Austrian fire. This girl, Signorina Abriani, whose name 
will go down in Italian history as one of the first heroines of the 
war, guided the detachment safely. The Austrians holding the 
\dlla were strongly intrenched, and they held out against superior 
forces until late in the afternoon, when four shells crashed into 
the building, bringing it down about their ears. The Italians had 
brought up a battery on the opposite side of the Adige River and 
opened fire at long range. The Austrians made good their re- 
treat, leaving all their ammunition and three dead. Later fifty- 
seven Austrians were taken prisoners. 

That night the Italian general took the precautions, usual on en- 
tering a newly occupied town, of ordering that all the windows in 
town be kept open and illuminated, and kept patrols about the 


town. The mayor was reconfirmed, and his first act was to 
announce to the citizens that "the royal military authorities, 
knowing the needs of the inhabitants, have with affectionate 
solicitude and great generosity placed 5,000 rations of bread and 
2,000 of rice at the disposal of the poor." Thus Ala became Italian. 

The incidents of these first advances into Austrian territory 
were reported in detail in Italy, and are set down here as typical 
of events that accompanied the irruption of Italian troops over 
the border into the country which once had been Italian and 
where, despite more than a century of Austrian occupation, a 
large proportion of the inhabitants in spirit was Italian still. 
Such reports spread through Italy naturally increased enthusiasm 
for the restoration of the "unredeemed" provinces. 

Although, as a rule, the Austrians retired before the first 
Italian advance into Trentino, they did not depart until they had 
left every possible obstacle. Roads were barricaded, bridges 
destroyed, and mines were laid, cleverly concealed on hillsides 
where it was intended their explosion would overwhelm the 
Italians under masses of rock and earth. But this was just what 
the Alpini and Bersaglieri had been trained to anticipate. Ac- 
cording to the official Italian accounts, their scouting was so 
excellent that the wires connecting these mines with Austrian 
hiding places were discovered and cut, and hardly a mine was 
exploded. All this took place while the Austrians were drawing 
in their outposts and consolidating their forces in the great 
strongholds where later they held the Italians in absolute check. 
The Italians advanced cautiously in small groups, and the Aus- 
trians abandoned the frontier villages soon enough to avoid 
serious encounters, but not a minute sooner. 

In the Alps in these days of May, 1915, the Great War was 
fought much as wars have been fought in times we are accus- 
tomed to regard as the age of true romance. The Italian King 
visited the Alpine troops and surprised his men and redoubled 
their devotion by showing his skill as a mountain climber. "You 
forget," he told an officer who remonstrated with him as he was 
about to scale a particularly difficult position to examine a gun* 

"chamois hunting is my favorite sport." 

26— War St. 3 


If certain portions of the Italian population seemed lukewarm 
toward the war during the period of diplomatic negotiations, 
there was no doubt of the temper of the nation after hostilities 
actually began. The chord of national feeling was struck by 
King Victor Emmanuel in an order issued upon taking supreme 
command of the army and navy. 

''Soldiers on land and sea," said the order, "the solemn hour 
of the nation's claims has struck. Following the example of my 
grandfather, I take to-day supreme command of Italy's forces on 
land and sea, with the assurance of victory which your bravery, 
self-abnegation, and discipline will obtain. 

"The enemy you are preparing to fight is hardened to war and 
worthy of you. Favored by the nature of the ground and skillful 
works, he will resist tenaciously, but your unsubdued ardor will 
surely vanquish him. 

"Soldiers, to you has come the glory of unfurling Italy's colors 
on the sacred lands which nature has given as the frontiers of 
our country. To you has come the glory of finally accomplishing 
the work undertaken with so much heroism by our fathers." 

The stormy scenes which followed the resignation of the 
Salandra cabinet gave way to a confident calm. From his seclu- 
sion in the Vatican the pope addressed a letter to Cardinal Van- 
nutelli, breathing a spirit of resignation and faith, but carefully 
refraining from any expression of partisanship in the great 

"The hour which we are traversing is painful," he said, "but 
our prayers will go out more frequently and more fervently than 
ever to those who have in their hands the fate of nations." The 
pope recalled that in his first Encyclical issued at the beginning 
of the war he exhorted the belligerent nations to make peace, but 
his voice was unheeded and the war continued "until the terrible 
conflagration has extended to our beloved Italy. While our hearts 
bleed at the sight of so much misery," he wrote, "we have not 
neglected to continue our work for relief and the diminution of 
the deplorable consequences of war. I wish that the echo of our 
voice might reach to all our children affected by the great scourge 
of war, and persuade all of them of our participation in their 


troubles and sorrows. There is little of the grief of the child that 
is not reflected in the soul of the father." 

The greatest enthusiasm, naturally, was manifested in the 
cities of the north nearest the scene of war. The Master 
Workers' Guild of Milan voted unanimously to give up one day's 
pay each month to be devoted to the relief of the families of men 
at the front. Many business houses carried soldiers' names on 
their payrolls and remitted their wages to their families. 

In all cities within range of the enemy's aircraft precautions 
were taken to guard public buildings, and especially the famous 
objects which for centuries had made Italy the Mecca of lovers of 
art. In Venice the bronze horses of St. Mark's were taken down 
from their pedestals and hiddden in the subterranean caverns of 
the cathedral. The gilded statue of the Virgin surmounting the 
celebrated white marble cathedral at Milan was covered with 
cloth, so that it might not serve as a guide to Austrian raiders. 
The stained glass windows of the edifice were removed as a pre- 
caution against possible bombardment. After the first Austrian 
sea and air raid along the Adriatic coast orders were issued that 
lights should be darkened in all Adriatic ports. This order was 
extended also to certain inland cities, such as Milan, Bologna, 
Verona, Brescia, and Udine. A special watch for aeroplanes was 
kept at Bologna on account of the location there of an important 
factory for the manufacture of explosives. Watches were set on 
the crests of the Appenines ready to notify Rome of approaching 
danger from the air. 
.^- The attitude of Germany toward Italy at this period of the 
iHp^ar is best indicated by the speech delivered at the session of the 
^^feeichstag by Dr. von Bethmann-Hollweg, the Imperial Chan- 
I^Kellor. He imputed the Italian declaration of war to a combina- 
I^Rion of mob dictation, bad faith on the part of the cabinet of 
Premier Salandra, and, to a certain degree, to the money of the 
I powers of the Entente. The greater part of the Italian people, 
the chancellor asserted, and a majority in the Italian Parliament 
had not wanted war, and were even kept in ignorance of the 
ejttent of the concessions which Austria-Hungary was wilhng to 
make for the sake of peace. The Salandra cabinet, he declared. 


long before the Triple Alliance had ceased to exist, aligned itself 
with the Triple Entente and "unchained the mob spirit and in- 
timidated the advocates of peace." 

On the eve of leaving Rome, Prince von Bulow gave out a 
statement in which he declared that Italy was led into the war by 
a "noisy minority," and that even if in the end she obtained 
what she asked she would not get much more than what Austria 
already had offered. "It should be understood," he explained, 
"that it was impossible to deprive the central empires of Trieste, 
their only outlet to the Adriatic in the Mediterranean." 

Turkey regarded the entrance of Italy into the war on the side 
of the Entente with apparent equanimity. "We will not declare 
war on Italy," announced Talaat Bey, the Turkish Minister of the 
Interior. "We can wait. What can Italy do to us?" 



WHILE the world hears little about strategic plans that 
fail to work out, it is believed that the Austrians in May, 
1915, had in mind to let the enemy obtain a good start in his 
advance against Trieste. Then, when the Italian operations were 
well under way, and the two railroads from Venice were choked 
with their supplies, the Austrians probably intended to launch 
a swift attack upon Verona and the rich cities of Lombardy, thus 
cutting off the chief centers of Italian industry. At the same 
time, they undoubtedly meant to send an invading army through 
the passes of the Carnic and Julian Alps from their base at 
Tarvis, and by a sudden swoop southward take the Italian forces 
on the Isonzo in the flank. At least this is what the Italian staff 
believed was their plan, and they arranged their own forces 

This was the' reason for the extensive Italian drive during the 
third week of May, 1915, at all the mountain passes of the long 


frontier. For almost any of these passes might prove to be the 
gateway of invasion, whereas, once captured, they could be held 
by a few battalions. But behind each force that occupied the 
passes won in the first Italian dash was a large reserve ready to 
lend support wherever the enemy tried to break through. The 
Italians were not kept long in suspense as to where this thrust 
from the north first would come. 

On May 29, 1915, under cover of a heavy fog, the Austrians 
concentrated a strong force from Villach, brought them to 
Mauthen, and from that point launched five successive attacks in 
an effort to win back the pass of Monte Croce in the Carnic Alps. 
The Alpini met the attacks with musketry and machine-gun fire, 
then, after the last attempt had failed, leaped from their trenches 
and drove the Austrians down the valley. 

Thus began the battle of Monte Croce, an engagement de- 
scribed in the official bulletins of both countries in a way that 
gave the world its first intimation of the peculiar features of this 
mountain warfare. Each side had large reserves, and the 
struggle for the pass continued day and night, the Italians push- 
ing over the neighboring passes and gathering their strength for 
a counterattack when the Austrians were exhausted. 

On June 8, 1915, the Italians stormed Freikofel, a height com- 
manding the Plocken Plateau, and took the Pass of Valentina and 
the Pass of Oregione, 7,500 feet high, and overlooking the wooded 
I valley of Gail. The Alpini won Oregione by climbing through ice 
and snow over Paralba Mountain and fighting their way down- 
ward. Undaunted, General Dankl called up a fresh corps. 

On the night of June 14, 1915, the Austrians made a supreme 
effort to break through the Italian line and put into effect his plan 
of pouring an army through the Carnic Alps to attack the flank 
of the main Italian army. Although 100,000 men were engaged 
in this battle, the ground permitted no massed movements. For 
miles the saddle of Oregione, the snow-clad sides of Paralba, and 
every smaller peak and ravine extending to Monte Croce and 
Freikofel were speckled with fighting men. After the two sides 
came to grips, the big guns held their fire, and it was man to man 
and bayonet against bayonet. At one point only did the Austrian 


thrust reach Italian soil. For a short time the Austrians were on 
Paralba at an elevation of 8,840 feet, but threatened both in the 
flank and in the rear they were forced to retreat and take refuge 
in their prepared positions on Steinwand, a huge limestone 
mountain overlooking the Gail Valley. 

The strategic idea of General Cadorna is more easily under- 
stood when one studies the railway map of the Austrian territory 
north of the Camic border. Here their railway line through the 
Drave Valley passed closer to the boundary line than did the 
Italian system on the south, and they could bring up fresh 
troops with more speed. In the Gail Valley they had a wide 
region in which they could mass hidden from the enemy, and 
they had a good road up the mountains from Mauthen, while 
the Italians had to depend upon rough tracks through the valley. 
Although Cadorna had the hard task of keeping the doorway to 
Venice closed while he attacked the enemy on both flanks, he 
accomplished his purpose. 

The Italian army operating in the province of Cadore won its 
next success in an attack upon the village of Cortina, situated in 
a salient of the frontier, 4,000 feet high, amid some of the most 
beautiful scenery in the world. Cortina was taken on May 30. 
The Austrians had barricaded the famous road winding up 
through the Dolomites, and dug elaborate trenches; but the 
Italians, by superhuman efforts, moved up their mountain guns, 
while the Alpini scrambled over the mountains by the glaciers of 
Serapis and the tarns of Croda da Lago, and descended into 
Cortina on either side. Then, holding the enemy on the east, 
they advanced into the Tyrol westward to Falzarego. 

In this region they had ^n experience which illustrated the 
foresight of the Austrians in preparing for the attack they be- 
lieved would come. Some years before an Austrian had built a 
hotel in a deep ravine shut in by walls of limestone and very 
difficult of approach. Tourists had commented upon the lack of 
practicability of the man who placed a hostelry in so inaccessible 
a spot. But when the war came it developed that the hotel builder 
probably had a subsidy from the Government. For sandbags, 
machine guns, and quick-firers quickly converted the hotel into 


an excellent fort, which dominated the famous ravine. Thanks 
to the hardiness and ingenuity of their picked Alpine troops, the 
Italians, after a week of hard fighting, cleared the mountains 
above the ravine and dropped upon the hotel fort. 

By June 9, 1915, the Italians had won the Falzarego Pass. At 
times the fighting raged on summits 10,000 feet high, where the 
thin air exhausted the combatants far quicker than their physical 
exertions. In the last battle of this engagement the Italians ob- 
tained a footing upon a point of great strategical importance 
three miles beyond the pass on the Sasso d'Istria, close to where 
the Dolomite road bends southward through the ravine and 
penetrated the mountains in two tunnels. 

This victory gave the Austrians cause for anxiety regarding 
the western defenses of Tyrol, for by a double flanking move- 
ment along the Cordevole River and the Dolomite road the 
Italians in Cadore had extended like two arms around one of the 
principal systems of defense. General Dankl hurried reenforce- 
ments to the Cadore front to check the thrust up the Cordevole 
Valley. At the end of this valley was the focal point of the sys- 
tem of railways that carried food and munitions to both the 
Trentino forces and those in southern Tyrol. If the Italians had 
succeeded in cutting the railway at this point the enemy would 
have had great difficulty in maintaining his armies on the Tren- 
tino and Tyrol fronts. The Italian effort was not pushed to suc- 
cess ; but it at least had the effect of discouraging any plans Gen- 
eral Dankl might have formed of invading the plains of northern 
Italy at the foot of the frontier mountains. 

Only twenty miles south of the Austrian outposts was the im- 
portant city of Verona, famed for its memories of Romeo and 
Juliet. Nearer still was Brescia with the fertile lands of Lom- 
bardy surrounding it. But by his maneuvers at the opening of 
the war. General Cadorna effectively protected Italian territory 
and forced the enemy to devote all his attention to resisting the 
attacks of active light infantry and mountain artillery. The 
great 12-inch Skoda howitzers, upon which Austria depended to 
batter down the defenses of these Italian cities, were needed 
elsewhere, behind the Julian and Camic Alps, and especially in 


the comer of the frontier near Predil Pass, by which Napoleon 
invaded Italy, and on the Isonzo front between Tolmino and the 

Thus with his infantry, Cadorna overcame the artillery handi- 
cap under which Italy labored during all the first months of the 
war. The Skoda gun was reputed to be the best in the world. 
It had proved its worth in Belgium and Russia, and the fact that 
the Austrians were able to lend guns to their ally proved their 
wealth of big-gun power. Now, even after ten months of war, 
when thousands of the great howitzers were busy in Galicia and 
along the Danube, the Skoda works could still produce an arma- 
ment superior to that of Italy. Much of the effectiveness of the 
Skoda gun lay in the fact that it could be separated into two 
parts for easier transportation. In addition to these 12-inch 
mortars, Austria had a 6-inch steel Skoda, designed in the sum- 
mer of 1914, for use in the Carpathians and well adapted to fight- 
ing in the Alps. Due in part to their realization of this superi- 
ority of Austria in big guns, the Italians remained neutral for ten 
months, but meanwhile they had created a new armament for 
their own armies at full speed. For the attack on the Austrian 
infantry in the field they adapted the French' 75-millimeter quick- 
firer, and for siege work they manufactured 6- and 12-inch 
howitzers. But it takes time to build heavy artillery, and at this 
time every armament firm in the world was pushed to its full 
capacity, while the Italians, being without coal fields, were handi- 
capped in the development of armament resources at home. For 
political reasons also General Cadorna would not risk sacrificing 
his men to overcome this artillery handicap. His problem was to 
conserve his forces as much as possible in readiness for a de- 
fensive campaign against combined Teutonic armies, winning 
what small victories he could, and meanwhile keeping down his 
casualty lists, while fighting heavy howitzers with light mountain 
guns and 3-inch quick-firers. i. t atf 

After the Italians had established their hold upon the frontier 
points there was an apparent relaxation of effort while the in- 
fantry of the line waited for the heavy siege artillery to issue 
from the armament factories and come into action. This move- 


ment of artillery was slow, especially on the Isonzo front where 
engineering operations were delayed by the summer floods caused 
by the melting snows from the mountain tops. To transport 
heavy pieces of ordnance across the floods the Italian engineers 
had to build strong bridges, often under heavy fire from the 
enemy, who, even after their retirement from the east bank of 
the river, continually harassed the Italian advance guard holding 
the bridgeheads. The Austrians aided the work of the mountain 
floods by breaking down the high embankment used to carry off 
the snow water, and thereby inundated the plain. Working 
under a plunging fire from the enemy's batteries on the foot- 
hills, the Italian sappers built light pontoon bridges over the 
floods upon which the first Italian contingent crossed at night 
and occupied the first line of Austrian trenches near the river. 

This much the Italians accomplished by the first week in June, 
1915 ; but there they were forced to pause for the reasons already 
described. Active hostilities during the first part of June on the 
Isonzo front centered around Monfalcone, a seaport just below 
the dominating Carso headlands. Taken from Venice by the 
Austrians during the Napoleonic era, Monfalcone had become the 
third most important port in the empire. In its yards warships 
were being constructed. 

On June 9, 1915, the Italians made their swift stroke in a 
southwesterly direction from their Isonzo line. The port was 
bombarded on June 7, 1915, by a light Italian cruiser squadron, 
and the Castle of Duino, standing at the sea edge near Trieste 
and defended by three artillery batteries, was shattered and set 
afire apparently to prepare for the operations against Monfalcone 
from the southwestern side of the Gulf of Panzano. Archduke 
Eugene hastily collected a strong force above Duino ready to re- 
sist an attempt by the Italians to land, but the attempt never was 
made. It. developed that the bombardment of Duino was a feint. 

The real movement against Monfalcone was launched from an- 
other quarter straight across the Isonzo. The Bersaglieri cyclist 
corps and grenadiers broke through the Austrian line at the 
river, and since the Austrians had neglected to prepare a reserve 
" line, the Italians advanced by a swift, running fight through the 


villages around the Isonzo delta. Near the historic town of 
Aquileia, now a mere hamlet, the Italians forced a passage of the 
river at the point of the bayonet and flowed in two streams around 
the enemy's positions, depending for their rapid movements upon 
their cyclists with machine guns and their fast-marching light 
infantry. The Austrians set fire to the pine-clad mountain 
slopes, but were unable to stem the rush of the Italians who, 
under the flare of the forest fires, broke into the open town of 
Monfalcone after storming the promontory of Rocca. 

Here, however, the Italian advance guard was in a dangerous 
/)Osition, for the Austrian batteries posted on the limestone bluffs 
rising 1,000 feet on the northern side of the town still dominated 
the streets occupied by the Italians near the water's edge. The 
situation was critical, not only because the troops in the lower 
town were In danger of annihilation if they held their ground, 
but because the Italians were anxious to save the town from 
bombardment, and preserve the warships under construction in 
the shipyards. So a brigade of light troops scaled the limestone 
cliffs dragging their mobile 3-inch guns, and forced the Austrians 
to retire, taking their heavy howitzers with them. Monfalcone 
now rested securely in Italian possession. The Italians in all this 
engagement lost only about 100 killed and wounded, while the 
enemy's casualties were estimated at 2,000. The loss stung the 
Austro-Hungarian Government deeply. 



AFTER the Italian success in June, 1915, certain readjustments 
- were manifest in the Austrian forces in the Italian theatre. 
Although there was no declaration of war between Italy and 
Germany, it was reported that German officers were sent to aid 
the Austrians, and that the forces of Archduke Eugene were 
progressively strengthened from this time on. German soldiers 


who joined the Austrian detachments were supposed to have vol- 
unteered in an irregular individual manner. In this manner 
Germany preserved the appearance of neutrality. 

The latter part of June, 1915, found Austria occupied with the 
siege of Lemberg, and the archduke, apparently, was content to 
hold his own on the Italian front until a decision had been ob- 
tained in the more important operations against the Russians. 
Satisfied with their initial successes. General Cadoma on land 
and the Duke of Abruzzi at sea settled down to a slow, patient 
chess play, not unlike that worked out by General Joffre in 
France. Cadoma issued a statement to the Italian people in 
which he warned them that the preliminary successes which, he 
said, had made good the strategical defects of their frontier, 
would be followed by a long stage of gradual approaches against 
the enemy's second line. 

The attrition of the Austro-Hungarian forces would be carried 
on by long-range artillery and sappers and local trench warfare 
with hand grenades. The Italian commander in chief resolutely 
refused to divert any part of his forces to the Dardanelles. Pos- 
sible danger to Italian dominion in Tripoli, pointed out by the 
leaders of the Entente Powers, did not change his purpose to main- 
tain a single concentrated front and not diffuse his efforts. The 
war with Austria, he believed, would be won or lost on the Italian 
frontier. His theory as to the best way to meet advances by the 
Teutonic allies in new fields was to increase pressure on their 
home frontiers where their interests were most vital. The Italian 
army in the field was increased to a million men, and, after the 
fall of Lemberg, Austria gradually moved more and more troops 
to the Alpine passes and the Isonzo, until by August she had 
600,000 men facing the Italians, double the number arrayed on 
this front when Italy declared war. Had the Russians been able 
to hold out longer in Galicia, there is little doubt that Cadorna 
would have had something to show for the month of July besides 
a few local victories which did not vitally affect the main 

On June 9, 1915, the capture of Gradisca completed the Italian 
control of the lower Isonzo, and Cadorna prepared for a general 





tESIA ^/«-#\v' 

Wo ^1 




attack on all the strongholds guarding Trieste. Of these the most 
important were the Carso tableland on the south, Gorizia barring 
the river-valley of the Vipacco between the Carso and the foot- 
hills of the Julian Alps, the fortified system of heights north of 
Gorizia surrounding the town of Tolmino, and the great in- 
trenched camp of Tarvis above Tolmino extending to Malbor- 
ghetto and the other Alps of Carinthia. These fortified points 
had to be attacked generally or not at all. Any attempt to mass 
an army against any one of them would have spelled disaster, for 
the Italians would have been flanked by Austrian forces from the 
north or south. A properly defined advance against Trieste 
called for a simultaneous thrust at Tolmino and the Tarvis for- 
tress commanding the road to Vienna. The Austrians had been 
strengthening Tarvis ever since 1859, after Napoleon III over- 
threw the Austrians in the battles that freed Lombardy. The 
Austrian fortresses were again strengthened after the siege of 
Port Arthur had demonstrated the power of high-explosive 
shells, and again in 1910 when the Teutonic allies made their 
great discovery that their new giant howitzers laughed at modem 
defense works of steel and concrete. In remodeling her Alpine 
strongholds Austria selected positions on the plateau for systems 
of earthworks containing mobile siege guns. 

The key to this immensely strong Austrian line of defense was 
the railway town of Plava on the eastern bank of the Isonzo 
under the wooded heights of the Ternovane Forest. Plava was 
in a salient occupying about the middle of the Austrian line. 

Here, on the night of June 17, 1915, the Italians began their 
general offensive by an attack from Mount Korada on the opposite 
side of the river. Under cover of darkness the Italian sappers 
built a pontoon bridge, and the Bersaglieri crossed and carried 
the town and the surrounding heights at the point of the bayonet. 
The Austrians realized the importance of the position and quickly 
returned to a violent counterattack. The Italians threw all their 
available men into the gap, and a great battle raged on the edge 
of the highlands east of the river. The Austrians had the ad- 
vantage of position, for their forces could be massed in the wood- 
land out of sight of the Italian aviators. But, on the other hand, 


the Italian batteries on Mount Korada were able to pour a plung- 
ing fire into the lower tableland; and due mainly to the aid of 
their artillery the Italian troops drove back the enemy and main- 
tained the ground won by the first dash. 

General Cadorna was now in a position to begin a direct attack 
upon Gorizia. He assailed the Hill of Podgora, forming the bar- 
bican of the city's system of defenses and advanced a recon- 
noitering force toward Mount Fortin. Meanwhile he massed 500 
pieces of artillery on the heights commanding the city. But the 
defenses of Gorizia had been well planned, and they proved their 
completeness by a long resistance covering a period that brought 
successive reports that the fortress had fallen. All these reports 
proved false. South of the city the Austrian intrenchments 
covered a front of more than ten miles, from the Mount of San 
Gabriele below Plava to Mount San Michele on the Carso table- 
land. The trenches were built in the most modern style, of con- 
crete more than a yard thick covered with steel armor, against 
which ordinary shrapnel had no more effect than so much hail, 
and even high-explosive shells of medium power did little dam- 
age. The Italian weapons of attack were hand grenades and 
short knives, in the use of which the infantry were expert. Four 
army corps operating under the Duke of Aosta between Gorizia 
and the sea were beaten back by the Austrians with heavy 
losses. This victory so encouraged the archduke and chief 
lieutenant, General Boroevics, that they decided upon a counter- 
offensive in force. Therefore, as soon as the Italian attack 
slackened, the main Austrian army advanced across the Carso 

The series of battles that now followed were the first engage- 
ments of any size between the Italians and the Austro-Hunga- 
rians in the open field. They began June 22, 1915, and lasted 
until the close of July, with a short let-up at the end of the first 
week in July. The theatre included the whole Carso front, the 
Vipacco Valley, and the southern part of the Ternovane Forest. 
After his first repulse General Boroevics brought up fresh corps 
and renewed the attack, but in the end he was driven back to his 
main line with shattered forces. 


In the Carso tableland the Austrians had as nearly perfect a 
position of natural defense as a general could choose. On the 
east of the Isonzo plain the broken, rocky wall rises in places to 
1,000 feet, seamed with gullies and ravines, and bristling with 
forest growth which afforded ideal cover. The action of the rain 
has pitted the limestone with funnel-shaped holes which form 
natural redoubts for machine guns ; and there are larger depres- 
sions and caves where heavier pieces of artillery may be placed in 
excellent shelter. 

But while the Italians were unable to capture this position, 
when General Boroevics took his troops out of their defenses and 
sent them charging across the open ground, he found that the 
enemy had made good use of his precarious hold on the edges of 
the tableland. Although they occupied* barely more than the rim 
of the plateau, with the flooded Isonzo a third of a mile broad 
beneath them, the Italians had strengthened their positions with 
sandbag intrenchments and hauled up a few pieces of light 

The chief support of the infantry holding these sandbag de- 
fenses was the heavy guns across the river, which searched out 
the Austrian columns whenever they left cover. In weight of 
artillery the Italians had the advantage, for most of the Aus- 
trian 12-inch howitzers were busy in the Alps, and they had to 
depend mainly upon 6-inch pieces. 

By the second week in July, 1915, the Austrians relaxed their 
efforts, and the Italians began a slow advance, working up the 
hills overlooking Gorizia by a variety of methods. In the places, 
comparatively few, where there was cultivated ground, they 
practiced the siege method of sapping forward, but generally 
their advance was over bare rock, where trenches could be exca- 
vated only by the use of dynamite, and when a charge was made 
the troops had to carry sandbags to build temporary cover from 
machine-gun fire. This method of warfare, in fact, was general 
throughout the whole mountain front, where the hard rock car- 
ried a mere veneer of earth, and sandbags had to serve for de- 
fense until the engineers could blast trenches and galleries in the 
flintlike face of the slopes. 


The repulse of the Austrian counterattack in the middle of 
July, 1915, ended the first phase of the battle of Gorizia. On 
July 18th, 19th and 20th, General Cadorna delivered a fierce 
assault aided by knowledge gained in the first stage of the 
battle, which, for the Italians, was little more than a reconnais- 
sance in force. For three days and nights he drove the troops 
of his combined Second and Third Armies against the enemy's 
lines all along the Isonzo. His system was to attack by day 
and then at night resist the enemy's couterassaults on his newly 
won positions. The Italians retained all the ground they won 
during these days of terrific fighting, and captured 3,500 

By the 20th of July their confidence had increased to such 
an extent that they determined upon a night assault. But next 
morning Cadorna received word from his aeroplane scouts and 
his spies that the enemy was massing for a supreme effort. The 
Italian advance was stayed and every man was set at work 
helping the engineers strengthen the trenches. 

On July 21, 1915, there came a complete lull. The next day 
the Austrians opened their attack With a concentrated bombard- 
ment. During the period of Italian advance the railways had 
been piling up the Austrian shells and German gunners had 
been sent by the Crown Prince of Bavaria to help serve the 
heavy howitzers rushed to the Carso from the Julian Alps and 
the Tyrol and Trentino salients. With the design to cut the 
Italian line of communication, the main Austrian infantry attack 
was delivered toward Gradisca where the Italians had con- 
structed their principal bridges across the Isonzo. The infantry 
massed behind the neighboring hills and under cover of a 
tremendous artillery bombardment advanced in close formation. 
The first line of Italian troops seemed about to be swept away 
when the gunners on the heights across the river got the range 
and poured into the advancing Austrians a massed fire from 
all their 500 pieces. General Boroevics's advance was pounded 
to pieces; the Italians brought up reenforements and charged 
and captured the lines from which the Austrians had delivered 
their assault, taking 2,000 prisoners. 


Slllllllllll Illllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll I I Illllll I Illllllllllll I mill I Illllllllllllll I nil I I lllllllllllllilllllllllllllR 


On July 23, 1915, the archduke ordered another attack upon 
the Italian positions near the sea on the edge of the Carso table- 
land. This was really an effort to recapture Monf alcone ; but it 
failed, although the Italians did not dare risk pursuit over the 
rough ground. Later two Austrian divisions, advancing from 
San Michele and San Martino against Sagrado were repulsed 
with heavy losses. 

By July 25, 1915, the Italians were able to attack and ciiipture 
some of the intrenchments on the slopes of San Martino and 
to storm Sei Busi. This hill of Sei Busi witnessed some of the 
most sanguinary fighting of the whole series of engagements. 
On a single day it was won, lost and won again by the Italians, 
both sides bringing up strong reenforcements and concentrating 
against the summit all the artillery within range. Over the 
crest of San Michele which dominated a large part of the table- 
land the battle surged for many days. 

On July 27, 1915, the Italians, attacking with bombs and 
bayonets were able to occupy the summit, but could not establish 
themselves there in the face of the enemy's bombardment. The 
lower slopes they were able to hold behind their sandbag in- 
trenchments, but the crest, swept by the enemy's heavy artillery 
and offering no shelter, was absolutely untenable. In all this 
fighting artillery played the major role. The Italians charged that 
Archduke Eugene, realizing that any infantry advance against 
this terrific gunfire was a certain sacrifice of men, placed in his 
van regiments of men from the Italian-speaking provinces and 
from Old Serbia and Croatia. In this position these troops were 
exposed to fire from their own batteries with the knowledge that 
any attempt at treachery meant annihilation by their own guns 
in the rear. No figures as to the number of men from the "un- 
redeemed" provinces forced to fight against their kinsmen on 
the frontier are obtainable. Italian writers, however, maintain 
that during the first months of the war Austrian infantrymen 
of Latin and Slav origin were sacrificed by the hundred thou- 
sand around Gorizia and Trento. 

Like other great drives of the Allies on the French front, 
the Italian offensive on the chain of forts guarding Gorizia failed 

27— War St 3 


to break the enemy's resistance. The fighting, however, 
seasoned the untried troops of General Cadorna and won them 
praise even from the veterans of General Boroevics and from 
Boroevics himself. "I cannot refrain from saying," declared the 
Austrian General in an interview published in a Hungarian 
neWspaper, "that the bravery of the Italian regiments was 
almost incredible, for even if certain regiments lost all their 
offic^brs, this did not deter them from advancing with the greatest 
contempt for death." 



IEAVING the situation on the Isonzo where it rested at the 
^ close of July, 1915, in a condition virtually of stalemate, we 
return to the still more picturesque struggle in the Alps. While 
the Italian Third Army in massed assault was making its unsuc- 
cessful fight for possession of Gorizia with Trieste as its ultimate 
objective, warfare was in progress in a hundred places in the 
Julian, Camic, Dolomite, Trentino and Tyrolean mountains. Al- 
though along this part of the frontier the Italians inflicted no 
vital harm upon the enemy during the first two months of the 
war, they were successful in a multitude of minor enterprises, 
each of which furnishes its stirring tale of hand-to-hand fight- 
ing, individual heroism and novel expedients in a country 
singularly adapted to some of the methods of primeval warfare. 
Being on the defensive, the Austrians frequently made use of 
the primitive ambush of mountain tribes. Loose, heavy bowlders 
were lashed to the edge of a precipice and masked with pine 
branches. Then when the enemy passed along the mountain 
path beneath, the wires holding the rocks in place were cut, 
releasing a deadly avalanche upon the advancing foe. 

Any description of the fighting on this Alpine front becomes 
by necessity a catalogue of apparently isolated operations, for 


the nature of the ground negatived any great battle in force 
such as that along the Isonzo River. In the Julian Alps the 
Italian mountaineers gained a lucky success early in June. 
General Rohr, the Austrian commander, had set two companies 
to guard a rampart of rock between Tolmino and Monte Nero. 
The position was so strong that a few hundred men with Maxims 
and quick-firers could have held it against an army corps. Its 
strength, in fact, was so apparent that the Austrians took their 
duties too lightly. Leaving only a few sentries on watch, both 
companies enjoyed plenty of sleep at night. But one night the 
Italian Alpinists climbed silently over the mountain, killed the 
enemy's sentries with knives before they could make an outcry 
and coming upon the two companies from the rear captured 
them with scarcely a struggle. 

The peak of Monte Nero, a stump-shaped mountain 7,370 feet 
high at the headwaters of the Isonzo, proved important to the 
Italians, for it gave them a fire-control station from which 12- 
inch shells were dropped into the forts of Tolmino and the 
southern forts of Tarvis. North of Monte Nero, where the 
boundary turns to the west, is the important pass of Predil, the 
gateway to Tarvis, guarded on the southeast by the fortress of 
Flitsch and on the west by Malborghetto. These two positions 
were the strongest points in a great ring of fortified heights 
protecting the pass and the highway and railroad running 
through an angle of the Julian Alps into the heart of Austria. 
The forts of Malborghetto projected into Italian territory and 
its chief works. Fort Hensel, a great white oblong of armored 
concrete, was visible miles away in the Italian mountains. 
Against this system of fortifications the Italians brought their 
heaviest howitzers and demonstrated, as satisfactorily as the 
Germans had shown months earlier at Liege, that the strongest 
forts were no match for modem artillery. Fort Hensel and the 
other permanent forts were shattered and the ground around 
them was pitted with great craters from explosions of the 12- 
inch shells. 

The final ruin of Fort Hensel was accomplished by a shell 
which penetrated through the thickest of its steel and concrete 


layers and exploded in its ammunition magazine. This bom- 
bardment of Malborghetto necessitated firing mortar shells at 
a high angle completely over mountains which hid the target 
from the Italian gunners. The work of destruction was slow 
owing to the fact that mists often curtained the mountain tops 
and forced the gunners to cease operations, because to fir6 while 
the cJbservers were unable to watch every shot and telephone the 
results would have been only a waste of ammunition. 

But the Austrians already Imew that their forts were no 
match for 12-inch howitzers, once these great guns could get 
into position, and they had prepared another method of defense 
which they put into use as soon as the forts were destroyed. 
Batteries of Skodas, hidden in a stretch of pasture land below 
the summit of the mountain, were brought up and placed in pits 
concealed by tufts of grass and brush from reconnoitering air- 
men, while at a safe distance dummy guns were displayed to 
draw the Italians' fire. Thus one of the greatest artillery duels 
of the whole front continued day after day, neither sfde being 
able to See the enemy and relying for information upon observers 
posted on mountain tops and in aeroplanes. These 12-inch 
fguns were not intended for such work. They had been labori- 
ously hauled to their lofty emplacements five and six thousand 
feet above sea level to destroy 6-inch batteries, as these 6-inch 
guns had been brought up to overpower the lighter 3-inch moun- 
tain guns, some of which the Italians worked from peaks as 
high as 10,000 feet. When both sides got these monster 
howitzers into position the natural sequence was a deadlock. 
The most the infantry could do was to drive the enemy's troops 
from summits valuable as observation points in the service of 
the heavy artillery. 

Thus the official reports issued by the Austrian and Italian 
staff headquarters reiterated the names of peaks hitherto un- 
known to the traveler and tourist mountaineer, peaks which 
became of immense importance now, not so much on account of 
their height as because they commanded the best views of the 
surrounding territory. One of these was Freikofel. The Alpini 
captured it early in tiie war with scarcely a struggle and then 


for weeks the Austrians sacrificed regiments and even brigades 
in vain attempts to recover it. 

The loss of Freikofel by the Austrians was followed, on June 
24, 1915, by the loss of Cresta Verde, and then in the first week 
of July the Italians captured the important observation peak of 
Zellenkofel. This mountain was held by the Austrians with a 
force of only forty men, but in view of its extraordinary position 
this squad was considered sufficient. The slopes below them 
were swept by a battery of their mountain guns, in telephonic 
communication with the more distant howitzer battery upon 
which it could call for assistance if necessity arose, and a large 
infantry reserve was stationed in the wooded valley below. But 
one night twenty-nine Alpini crept up the almost sheer precipice 
a thousand feet high that separated them from the Austrian 
defenders. They carried ropes and a machine gun and just as 
the moon rose they attained the summit, set up their Maxim and 
opened fire. Every man in the observation station was shot down. 

Then followed a desperate fight with the Austrian mountain 
battery on the reverse slope. But thanks to their machine gun 
the Italians were able to break up the enemy's charge and as 
day broke they captured the Austrians' guns and drove the men 
who served them down the mountain. When the Austrian 
reserves arrived the Italians had intrenched themselves on the 
southern slope and were able to make use of the captured guns. 
The attacks of the reserves were repulsed and the Italians held 
the mountain. 



AT the western end of the rugged battle front, the Italian moun- 
^ tain troops, after the first advance, were less successful than 
the troops of Cadorna in the Camic and Julian Alps. Here the 
fighting mountaineers of Tyrol redeemed their reputation by 


a daring stroke. The scene of this brilliant operation was close 
above the Tonale Pass, the site of one of the greatest glaciers 
in Europe. From Presanella to Care the ice extends in a 
gleaming crescent for more than twenty miles. Its broadest 
part stretches for six miles to Monte Adamello, 11,640 feet high. 
The paths over or by these glaciers had been seized and fortified 
by ;^)ie Italians and their line along this front lay mostly within 
Italian territory. In mid-July a force of Tyroleans found a 
neWi.t^ack through the ice and before the Italians, engrossed with 
opei^ations elsewhere, knew what they were doing they had 
penetrated several miles into Italian lands. The Italians met 
the invaders at the famous Garibaldi Hut owned by the Italian 
Alpine Club just beneath Mount Adamello and checked the 
advance, although the Austrians retained some of the peaks 
commanding the Hut. 

Just north of the Adamello group of peaks in the upper part 
of the Gf^ijidipari Valley extending to Lake Garda the Italians 
took one of the northern passes by surprise and advanced toward 
the forts defending Riva and Arco. Eventually they won all 
the country south of the Ledro Valley with a series of fierce 
artillery duels. A similar advance was made east of Lake Garda 
and down the Lagarina Valley. The forward movement was 
signalized by engineering feats comparable, in their mastery 
of the human hand over the forces of nature, only to the building 
of the Pyramids. The great siege guns weighing many tons 
were hoisted to the top of cloud-piercing summits solely by man 
power. Every bit of ammunition and supplies had to be brought 
up by the same laborious method. At Col di Lana the Austrians 
had an intricate series of works excavated deep in the solid 
rock. High explosive shells and hand bombs were useless against 
this defense, but Colonel Garibaldi, a grandson of the great 
Italian Liberator, found a way to drive the Austrians out of 
their position. He mustered a corps of engineers who had 
helped drill the great railway tunnels on the Swiss frontier and 
under his direction they tunneled right through the mountain 
into the Austrian galleries on the reverse slope. When the 
fumes of the last charge of blasting dynamite cleared away a 


detachment of bomb carriers leaped through the jagged hole, 
drove the enemy from their galleries, and, constantly fed by sup- 
porting troops, cleared their way up and down the mountain. 

The first of August, 1915, found the Italians holding the Aus- 
trian outpost positions they had taken during June and July; 
but the Austrian main defenses from one end of the frontier to 
the other, a distance of more than 300 miles, were virtually intact. 
It must be borne in mind, however, that the Italian General 
Staff at this period of the war never contemplated any general 
offensive except on the Isonzo River. Although their attack 
along the Isonzo did not attain its object of reducing the main 
defenses of Trieste and Gorizia, proved too hard a nut to crack, 
the Italians here won a series of minor victories against great 
odds and, to the Italian mind at least, demonstrated the valor 
of the army and the effectiveness of the new artillery which 
boded well for the future. 

It has been pointed out that in these operations General 
Cadoma had to consider other things besides the immediate 
problems facing his troops. The Italo-Austrian warfare was 
but a small factor in the great plan of the Entente allies, who 
as the war progressed, realized more and more the importance 
of cooperative action. All that happened in Galicia, Poland, 
Lithuania and Courland had a direct influence upon Cadoma's 
plans. Russian reverses and the failure of all attempts by the 
French and British to break the German line in France and 
Belgium made the Italian commander cautious. The series of 
Teutonic victories made it possible that at any time he might 
have to face an overwhelming host of Austrians and Germans 
equipped with artillery which he could not hope to equal and 
backed by an apparently limitless supply of ammunition. For 
political reasons, also, he could not risk, even in the hope of 
reaching Trieste, sacrificing his men in an offensive costing any- 
thing like the quantities of human material being used up each 
day in other theatres. His preponderance of troops at the open- 
ing of operations in May was gradually reduced. But the 
enemy's positions and his superior artillery offset the Italian's 
greater numbers. On the whole it may be said that the Italians 


accomplished quite as much as any of their allies. They 
penetrated farther into the Alps and the rugged tableland west 
of Trieste than the British and French with their colonials did 
into the hills of Gallipoli or into the ridge of the Lille region, 
and the length of their thrusts was greater than the French 
advances in Artois and Champagne. 

The Italians were more successful in concealing the extent 
of their losses than most of the other belligerents. A conserva- 
tive estimate places their total casualty list between the last week 
in May and the first of August, 1915, at 25,000. The Austrians 
in the same period on the same front lost about 15,000 dead, 
50,000 wounded and 15,000 prisoners. The slight Italian losses 
compared with their enemy's is remarkable in view of the fact 
that they were almost constantly on the offensive. By far the 
greater portion of the casualties were suffered in the east, 
during the two assaults on the defenses of Gorizia. 

Measuring the territory gained during these two months and 
comparing it with the concessions offered by Austria as the 
price of Italy's neutrality — on this basis the Italians had no 
cause to regret their decision. On the Venetian Plain by the 
lower Isonzo a few thousand men in two days with comparatively 
small loss conquered all the territory which the Italian nation 
had been offered for keeping out of war. This conquered ter- 
ritory, however, was far less than the prize the Italian King and 
his Cabinet set before the eyes of the people when they declared 




DURING the month of January, 1915, the British and French 
naval authorities came to a decision to attempt a naval attack 
upon the Dardanelles. It was decided, too, to lose no time in the 
matter, but to push the campaign with all speed. Undoubtedly, 
behind this decision there were many political factors of a grave 
kind because, on the face of it, there were many reasons why 
the attack should have been delayed until fine weather. Once 
having come to a decision, no time was lost. The Island of 
Tenedos was seized, and under an agreement with Venizelos, the 
Greek Premier, the island of Lemnos was occupied. In the latter 
the large harbor of Mudros offered an ideal naval and military 
base for operations against the Dardanelles, overcoming one of 
the chief original handicaps of the allied command, distance of 
base from scene of operations. Lemnos was less than fifty miles 
from the tip of the GallipoU Peninsula, while Tenedos was but 
twenty-two miles away, lying close to the Turkish coast. At 
these two depots a considerable Anglo-French naval squad- 
ron was rapidly collected. They came from all parts of the 

The elimination of the German commerce raiders from the high 
seas, and the obvious intentions of the main German and Aus- 
trian fleets to avoid a general action against overwhelming odds, 
freed a large number of allied, and especially British, warships 
of secondary fighting value. 



By the middle of February, 1915, the rendezvous was com- 
plete. Besides the ships belonging to the British and French 
Mediterranean fleets, there had arrived, fresh from the battle of 
the Falkland Islands, the Inflexible, a dreadnought battle cruiser. 
The Queen Elizabeth, too, arrived, the newest and strongest of 
the ships of the whole British navy. It is evident that great 
reliance had been placed on the enormous gun power of this 
vessel, it being hoped that her great 15-inch pieces would blow 
the Dardanelles defenses to pieces, somewhat in the way the 
gigantic German land guns had blown the Belgian forts into 
fragments. In no other way is it possible to explain the risking 
of this capital ship in the highly dangerous operations in the 
-^gean sea. 

In addition to the Queen Elizabeth and the Inflexible, the 
British force included the Agamemnon, the Irresistible, the Venr 
geance, the Triumph, the Albion, the Lord Nelson, the Ocean and 
the Majestic, The French ships numbered the Charlemagne, the 
Gaulois, the Suffern, and the Bouvet, 

Early in the morning of February 19, 1915, these vessels, 
under the supreme command of Vice Admiral Sackville Garden, 
and with Rear Admiral Guepratte in command of the French 
division, arrived off the Gallipoli Peninsula. At 8 a. m. they 
opened an intense bombardment of the several forts. At first 
they battered away at the Turks at long range but finally, about 
the middle of the afternoon, the Vengeance, Cornwallis and 
Triumph of the British forces, and the Suffern, Gaulois and 
Bouvet of the French fleet, closed in upon the Turkish forts 
which were still replying. It was not until darkness that all the 
land batteries had been apparently silenced. 

At this time, and throughout the various attempts to reduce the 
Dardanelles forts by naval bombardment, there was considerable 
difficulty in making the demolition permanent. On the following 
morning a detachment of the Naval Flying Corps made a recon- 
naissance and discovered that the damage was not as great as 
had been hoped. Accordingly, preparations were made to give 
the Turks another dose of the 12-inch guns. Before this could 
be done bad weather intervened. 


On February 25, 1915, there was a further bombardment and 
by five o'clock in the evening all the forts again had been silenced. 
Mine sweeping operations were then begun. For this work Eng- 
lish-Scotch trawlers from the North Sea had been brought down 
and the crews of these little unprotected boats added many pages 
of heroism to the book of great deeds of the Dardanelles opera- 

The following day a division of the battleship fleet entered 
the straits for a distance of four miles, the mine sweepers having 
cleared the channel for that distance. The Albion, Vengeance 
and Majestic opened fire with their 12-inch guns on Fort Dar- 
danos, a battery mounting nothing but 5.9-inch guns, situated 
on the Asiatic shore some distance below the Narrows. Fort 
Dardanos bravely replied, however, until put out of action, as did 
several concealed batteries, the presence of which the British and 
French had not suspected. 

With the completion of this operation the allied command be- 
lieved they had not only permanently silenced the forts guarding 
the entrance to the Dardanelles but had, as well, made both 
sides of the straits then too warm for the Turkish troops. Ac- 
cordingly forces of marines were landed to complete the work 
of demolition. They were successful except at Kum Kale where 
the Turks proved to have maintained a large force. The British 
landing party was driven back to its boats in a hurry after 
suffering a score of casualties. 

The apparent success of these naval operations raised high 
hopes in Great Britain and in the other allied countries. The 
British Government, which had established a censorship for all 
news that might tend to depress the British public, saw no reason 
for interfering to prevent the publication of news that might 
tend unduly in the other direction. The newspapers and the so- 
called military experts gave the public what they evidently 
wanted. The attack upon the Dardanelles, according to the ma- 
jority of these, was practically over. A few voices of warning were 
raised, but they were immediately silenced as "croakers" and "pes- 
simists" and even "pro-Germans." Absurd reports of consterna- 
tion and panic in CoristantinoDle were sent broadcast through- 


out Great Britain, and thence to the whole world. Thousands 
of Turks, in abject fear, were pictured as spending most of 
their days and nights on the housetops of the sacred city, 
anxiously awaiting the first glimpse of the victorious aUied flee^ 
sailing up the Golden Horn. Hundreds of thousands were said 
to be fleeing into Asia Minor and preparations were being made 
by the sultan and his government to follow suit. 

Meanwhile, nothing of the kind was happening, either in Gal- 
lipoli or in Constantinople. The German and Turkish authorities, 
confident in their ability to hold the straits against all the forces 
that could be brought against it, were quietly perfecting their 
plans. Bad weather again interrupted the Allies* operations, and 
it was not until March 1, 1915, that the Triumph, Ocean and 
Albion again entered the straits, and bombarded Fort Dardanos 
(once more active) , and the concealed shore batteries. The same 
night the mine sweepers, under the protection of destroyers, 
cleared an additional five miles of the channel, and the waters 
were safe up to within a mile and a half of the entrance to the 

About the same time the two French squadrons bombarded 
the Bulair lines, where the Gallipoli Peninsula connects with the 
mainland, in an attempt to interrupt the Turks' supply of troops 
and ammunition. 

On the following day, March 2, 1915, the Canopus, Swiftsure 
and Comwallis drew close into Fort Dardanos and opened fire. By 
so doing they got within range of the Turkish batteries in the 
pine woods just below the Kilid Bahr plateau and all three boats 
were hit. 

For the next few days the bombardment of various Turkish 
positions and batteries was continued. On the afternoon of 
March 4, 1915, a large landing party was put ashore at Kum Kale 
and Sedd-el-Bahr to complete the demolition of the works. That 
on the Asiatic shore again had a hard time and was driven off 
by a Turkish force after doing only small damage. The force 
on the European side also found that the Turks had quickly 
returned to the tip of the peninsula as soon as the fire of the 
warships had ceased. 


On the following day there occurred at Smyrna an incident 
that is hard to explain. Even British experts have not made 
any attempt to solve the puzzle. Vice Admiral Peirse with a 
British and French fleet, appeared off the city and opened a 
bombardment. The Turkish command did not reply and, after 
doing considerable damage, Peirse and his ships sailed away. 
He made no attempt to land, indeed he is not believed to have 
had a force for that purpose with him. The only reasonable 
explanation of the bombardment is that it was in the nature of 
a diversion intended to keep as many troops as possible from 

In the Dardanelles the operations were rapidly coming to a 
head. The Anglo-French command believed the time had now 
arrived for an attack in force upon the forts at the Narrows, 
the real defenses of the straits. Accordingly, on March 6, 1915, 
the Albion, Prince George, the Vengeance, the Majestic and the 
Suffem steamed well up the straits and opened a direct fire on 
the big forts. It was not upon the work of these ships, however, 
that great hopes rested. A new experiment was being tried from 
the Gulf of Saros on the other side of the Peninsula of Gallipoli, 
at the same time. With their long range guns the Queen Eliza- 
beth, the Agamemnon, and the Ocean stood well out and, by 
indirect fire, threw shell after shell over the heights of the pen- 
insula into the land works. All the while circling aeroplanes, 
under the constant fire of the Turkish antiaircraft guns, watched 
and corrected the firing, while a captive balloon, sent up from the 
Agamemnon, did additional and valuable service in this respect. 

It was found that, because of the angle of fire of the big naval 
guns, it was not possible to score any hits from the Gulf of Saros 
on the Turkish forts on the European side of the straits and the 
attempt was soon abandoned. Modem big gun ammunition was 
too expensive to be lightly thrown away. Furthermore, the life 
of one of the big guns of these battleships is strictly limited, 
especially if full charges are being used. Ultimately, the three 
battleships in the Gulf shifted their fire to the forts near Chanak, 
on the Asiatic side, where the works were on low ground, almost 
at sea level. 


It was confidently hoped that, by means of this indirect fire, 
it would be possible to put the 14-inch guns of these forts out of 
action, without giving them a chance to reply. The idea of 
trying to force a way past these great guns, exposing the rela- 
tively frail sides of precious battleships to their direct fire, wasf 
not relished by the allied command. 

But if the Turks could not reply to the fire of the three battle- 
ships in the Gulf of Saros with their 14-inch guns, they could 
and did do effective work with smaller guns concealed on the 
heights of the peninsula overlooking the gulf, and the Q^ieen 
Elizabeth was hit three times. 

On the following day, March 7, the attack was renewed. The 
four French battleships, the Charlemagne, Gaulois, the Bouvet 
and the Suffem took the post of greatest danger inside the 
straits and finally again silenced the Dardanos fort. The Aga- 
memnon and the Lord Nelson, behind them, made a long range 
attack upon the forts fringing the Narrows. Three of the allied 
battleships, the Gaulois, the Agamemnon and the Lord Nelson 
were hit by Turkish shells but, as an offset, it was believed that 
the great forts at Chanak, as well as the works at Dardanos, had 
been permanently silenced. 

This confidence, as we shall see later on, was not justified. 
Inside the great forts, it is true, the Turks and their German 
officers were suffering terribly from the bombardment. That 
they stood it in some cases for periods of seven hours at a 
stretch, and continued firing effectively for the whole of that 
time, is testimony to their courage and devotion to duty. As 
the great shells of the Queen Elizabeth landed in the forts they 
did frightful havoc. The shrapnel shells contained something 
like 12,000 separate bullets and it is on record that one of these 
shells wounded or killed no less than 250 Turkish soldiers. As 
the high explosive shells struck the works and exploded they 
threw up tons of earth and cement a hundred feet in the air, 
plainly visible to the allied observers on the warships in the 

But this was not the worst that the defenders had to endure. 
The exploding shells gave off poisonous gases that filled the un- 


derground passages of the redoubts. The heroic Turks worked 
under such conditions as long as it was humanly possible, but 
eventually their German officers were compelled to withdraw 
their men from each fort in turn to allow the gases to clear away. 
These circumstances undoubtedly account for the fact that 
almost every one of the forts was reported permanently silenced, 
only to resume action a few days later, much to the surprise and 
consternation of the allied command. - 

Furthermore, there is abundant evidence that the Turks were 
economizing ammunition, especially big gun shells. They had 
made up their minds that there would be a direct naval attack 
upon the forts sooner or later, and their instructions were to 
reserve their fire "until they saw the whites of the enemy's eyes," 
so to speak. 

From March 6 to March 18, 1915, there was a lull in activity 
at the straits. Momentous events were transpiring in London 
and at the island of Lemnos, and upon the outcome of these 
events depended the future course of the operations at the Dar- 
danelles. While the individual ships of his fleet conducted minor 
bombardments intended to harass the Turks, Vice Admiral 
Garden, pleading ill health, had been allowed to relinquish the 
command of the allied fleet, and Vice Admiral John de Robeck, 
newly promoted to his rank, succeeded him. Almost immedi- 
ately the latter steamed away to Mudros to engage in a fateful 



IT had evidently been the intention of the Allies to force the 
Narrows by naval power, and then follow up the success by 
an occupation of Gallipoli by a land force. For this purpose the 
troops solicited of Venizelos, the Greek Premier, were un- 
doubtedly to be used, but sole reliance was not to be placed upon 


them. For one thing, the Allies had no intention of allowing 
Greece to assume too great an importance in the campaign 
against Constantinople, well knowing that the Greek people had 
large ambitions in that part of the world — ambitions that 
clashed with those of more impoii^ant powers. 

In early March, 1915, the French were busy concentrating an 
expeditionary force in North Africa, under the command of Gen- 
eral d*Amade. By March 15 the French force had been gathered 
together at Bizerta, in the JEgeam Sea. At the same time the 
British Government had been undertaking a similar concentra- 
tion, and by the third week in March a force estimated at about 
120,000 men had arrived in transports at Mudros in the island of 
Lemnos. This English force consisted of the Twenty-ninth Di- 
vision, the Royal Naval Division, a special force formed by Win- 
ston Churchill, British Secretary to the Admiralty, and used in 
the attempt to relieve Antwerp, the Australian and New Zealand 
divisions originally brought to Egypt, a Territorial division, and 
some Indian forces. 

These troops, with the comparatively small French force 
under General d'Amade, were placed under the command of 
one of the most popular of British officers — General Sir Ian 

Sir Ian Hamilton and his staff were hurried from London by 
special trains and a fast cruiser steaming upward of 30 knots an 
hour. By the time he reached Mudros the French troops had 
also arrived from Bizerta. 

The island of Lemnos presented a strange and picturesque 
spectacle when all these troops, drawn from so many distant parts 
of the world, were gathered in the sheltering bay. The blue and 
red of the Frenchmen's uniforms, the khaki of the British, the 
native costumes of the Indian and North African troops con- 
trasted strangely. Mixing freely with them and driving hard 
bargains, were the native Greek tradesmen. All over the little 
town thousands of temporary huts and shops and tents sprang 
up for the supply of the needs of the troops. 

Out in the harbor hundreds of ships of every description were 
moored. There were battleships, cruisers, torpedo boats, sub- 


v.- marines, transports, supply boats, barges, picket boats, and 
p- dozens of Greek trading vessels. Into all this mess and chaos 
came the British commander. 

Then followed a long conference with General d'Amade, Ad- 
miral de Robeck, and Admiral Guepratte. There does not seem 
to be any reason for doubting that the plan was to launch a land 
attack upon the Gallipoli defenses immediately. But General 
Hamilton demurred. He inspected the loading of the transports, 
and refused to give the order for an attack until grave defects had 
been remedied. Of this period he wrote subsequently : 

"I knew that nothing but a thorough and systematic scheme 
for flinging the whole of the troops under my command very 
rapidly ashore could be expected to meet with success." 

The slightest delay in landing. Sir Ian Hamilton realized, would 
prove terribly costly, if not absolutely fatal. He and his troops 
were embarking on a campaign opening with a feat of arms for 
which there was no precedent in history. He did not intend that 
there should be the slightest chance of failure if forethought and 
intelligent preparation could prevent it. 

The prime obstacle to an immediate descent of the allied land 
forces upon Gallipoli Sir Ian Hamilton found to be the manner 
in which the British transports had been loaded. The only con- 
sideration that seems to have been present in the minds of the 
military authorities who superintended the work was the ques- 
tion of getting the material and men aboard the ships. The sup- 
plies, artillery, and ammunitions had all been loaded without any 
consideration as to which was to come off the boats first. Material 
absolutely necessary for the protection of the troops once they 
had landed on hostile shores, and vital in any attempt to press 
home the advantage thus gained, was buried under tents, hut 
parts, cooking material, etc. 

"I cannot go ahead with a transport fleet in this condition," 
said General Hamilton in substance to his French and English 
colleagues. "The whole fleet must return to Egypt and be re- 

"But time," urged Admiral de Robeck. "It will take weeks of 
valuable time." 

28— War St. 3 


"Better lose time than run straight to certain disaster," de- 
clared General Hamilton. 

And back to Alexandria went the whole fleet of transports, 
with the exception of a few vessels carrying the Australian 
Infantry Brigade, which, by some miracle, had been properly 

When General Hamilton and his soldiers sailed out of Mudros 
Harbor, bound for Alexandria, Admiral de Robeck came to a 
momentous and historic decision. Acting either on his own re- 
sponsibility or under orders or advice of some superior authority, 
he decided not to wait for the troops, but to make a determined 
attack upon the Narrows with his whole fleet. By sheer weight of 
guns he would try to run past the great forts that lined the 1,500« 
yard channel, pounding his way through on the theory that 
"what will not bend must break." 

March 18, 1915, was an ideal day for such an heroic attempt. 
The sailors of the allied fleet were called to quarters as the morn- 
ing sun, in a perfect sky, arose over the towering hills that lined 
the straits. Briefly the officers addressed the men, told them of 
the work ahead, spoke of the glory that awaited them if success- 
ful, and ordered each man to his post. 

The reader, in order to gain some definite idea of the defenses 
that were to be attacked, should take up a map showing the 
Dardanelles. He will find, about ten miles from the entrance, a 
narrow channel where the shores of Asia and Europe almost 
touch. There, at the narrowest point of the channel, the Turks 
had built their chief defenses. On the south slope of the Kalid 
Bahr were three powerful works. The Rumeli Medjidieh Battery 
mounted two 11-inch, four 9.4-inch, and five 3.4-inch guns. The 
Hamidieh II Battery had two 14-inch, while the Namazieh Bat- 
tery had one 11-inch, one 10.2-inch, eleven 9.4-inch, three 8.2- 
inch, and three 5.9-inch guns. 

On the Asiatic side of the Narrows, near Chanak, was a system 
of redoubts of equal strength. The Hamidieh I Battery, south of 
Chanak, consisted of two 14-inch and seven 9.4-inch guns, while 
the Hamidieh III Battery possessed two 14-inch, on« 9.4-inch, one 
8.2-inch, and four 5.9-inch guns. 


Besides all these formidable defenses there were^many minor 
positions on the very edge of the Narrows. In fact the whole 
channel, and the way of the allied fleet to the Sea of Marmora, 
lay through rows upon rows of high-power guns. 

The disastrous naval attack upon the big forts at the Narrows, 
resulting, as it did, in the loss of three battleships and the dis- 
abling of others, convinced the British and French naval author- 
ities that it was hopeless to expect success along that line, except 
at a price that they could ill afford to pay, and that would have 
a terribly depressing effect upon public opinion at home. 

Admiral de Robeck and his British "bulldogs" were called off to 
await the coming of Sir Ian Hamilton and his mixed expedi- 
tionary force. This force, while the 12- and 15-inch guns of the 
Anglo-French fleet had been vainly battering the Dardanelles 
forts, had returned to Alexandria, and, under the careful super- 
vision of Sir Ian Hamilton and General d'Amade, had been re- 
shipped aboard the great transport fleet. 

At this point there appears to have arisen a serious misunder- 
standing between Great Britain and France as to the exact num- 
ber of troops to be supplied by each. Although the true facts 
have not yet come to light, it is believed that General Joffre em- 
phatically refused to detach any of the French troops from the 
western front. The force that France eventually contributed to 
the allied army at the Dardanelles consisted of units not at that 
time in view for service in northern France. These numbered a 
small detachment of Fusiliers Marines, a section of the Armee 
Coloniale, and the Foreign Legion, a force made up of volunteers 
from all over the world, enlisted for service anywhere, and gen- 
erally assigned to a post of unusual danger. 

Great Britain was, therefore, under the necessity of providing 
the bulk of the troops. 

The British authorities did not make the mistake of throwing 
raw troops info the initial struggle at the Dardanelles. The back- 
bone of the force supplied to General Sir Ian Hamilton was the 
Twenty-ninth Division of Regulars, made up largely of the hardi- 
est of England's youth — ^the north countrymen. It comprised the 
Eighty-sixth Brigade of Infantry — Second Royal Fusiliers, First 


Lancashire Fusiliers, First Royal Munster Fusiliers, and the First 
Royal Dublin Fusiliers; the Eighty-seventh Brigade — Second 
South Wales Borderers, First King's Own Scottish Borderers, 
First Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, and First Border Regiment; 
the Eighty-eighth Brigade — Second Hampshires, Fourth Wor- 
cesters. First Essex, and the Fifth Royal Scots, the latter a 
Territorial battalion. Attached to this force of infantry was a 
squadron of the Surrey Yeomanry and two batteries of the Fourth 
Mountain Brigade, a Highland artillery unit. 

To the command of these regular troops. Major General Hun- 
ter-Weston was appointed. This officer had been through much 
of the early fighting in the western theatre, originally command- 
ing the Eleventh Brigade of the Third Corps of General French's 
army. His appointment to the Dardanelles was in the nature of 
a promotion, it being recognized that his dash and energy would 
be useful in the style of warfare that would govern the battle for 
the straits. 

In addition to the regular troops brought out from England, 
there was the Naval Division. This force had seen a bit of action 
in the attempt to save Antwerp. It consisted of two Naval Bri- 
gades and a Royal Marine Brigade. 

Also there was a Territorial Division, known as the East Lan- 
cashires, under the command of Major General Douglas. Im- 
mediately upon the outbreak of war this division had volunteered 
for foreign service and had been shipped to Egypt, where it had 
had six months' training. It comprised the Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, 
and Eighth Lancashire Fusiliers, the Fourth and Fifth East 
Lancashires, the Ninth and Tenth Manchesters, the Fifth, Sixth, 
Seventh, and Eighth Manchesters. 

These troops, with the inclusion of the Australian and New 
Zealand forces brought to Egypt at the beginning of the war, 
under the command of Lieutenant General Birdwood, and a con- 
siderable number of Indian troops, made up the force at the dis- 
posal of Sir Ian Hamilton. They numbered in all, with the 
French troops, about 120,000 men. 

What had the Turkish authorities to set against this army, sup- 
ported by the great fleet of battleships and unlimited number of 


transports and subsidiary vessels? Estimates of the potential 
strength of the Turkish army available for service in and about 
the Gallipoli Peninsula at this time vary widely. There were 
those, for instance, who claimed that, if necessary, the Turks 
could command at least 600,000 troops for the defense of the 
straits, and that any attempt to capture the positions with the 
force supplied tp Sir Ian Hamilton was doomed to failure. On 
the other hand were those who claimed that the Turks were short 
of equipment and ammunition, and had no means of replenish- 
ment ; that they had no heart in the fight ; that they were already 
in revolt against their German taskmasters; that the Suez and 
Caucasus defeats had undermined their morale and depleted 
their numbers, and that the Turkish high command had decided 
that it was useless to attempt to defend the position. Fortu- 
nately, between these two extremists there was a happy mean, 
and the best evidence points to the conclusion that, for the de- 
fense of the Dardanelles, from first to last, the Turks depended 
upon about 200,000 men with reenforcements brought up from 
time to time to refill the ranks. Probably when the great landing 
took place only a small proportion of the Turkish troops were in 

These troops were under the command of the German General 
Liman von Sanders, although, from time to time in the opera- 
tions, the picturesque figure of Enver Pasha appeared. Admiral 
Usedom, a high German naval expert, was placed in command of 
the purely naval defenses of the straits. 

Unfortunately for the allied force the attack upon the Dar- 
danelles lacked the important — and perhaps indispensable — 
element of surprise. By their early naval attack upon the outer 
fort, by the gathering of the army at Mudros and its subsequent 
return to Alexandria, and, finally, by the ill-fated naval attack 
upon the Narrows* defenses, the Allies had given the Turks ample 
warning of their intentions. During the many weeks that inter- 
vened between the first naval attack upon the outer forts and the 
approach of Sir Ian Hamilton's army, the Turks, under the super- 
vision of their German mentors, and borrowing largely of the 
lessons of the trench campaign in Flanders and France, made of 


the Peninsula of Gallipoli a network of positions which it proved 
possible, to borrow an expression used of the German concrete 
trenches in France, "for a caretaker and his wife to hold." This 
elaborate system of trenches and redoubts was dominated by the 
three great heights. Every foot of the sides of these major 
positions had been prepared with barbed wire, monster pits, 
mines, concealed machine-gun batteries, and the almost endless 
variety of traps evolved out of six months' experience with the 
new style of warfare. 

Along the many miles of coast of the Peninsula of Gallipoli 
there were but few places where, even under the most advan- 
tageous of conditions, it was possible to effect a landing in the 
face of a strongly intrenched enemy. The steep slopes of the hills 
rose from the very water's edge. Even in cases where there was 
a low, sandy beach, the nature of the country in the immediate 
vicinity made it impossible to deploy and maneuver any con- 
siderable number of troops. 

Furthermore the Turks, well aware of the limited possibilities 
at the disposal of the allied force, had made terrifically strong 
defensive positions of the few beaches where successful landings 
were at all possible. Row upon row of barbed wire had been 
run along the shores and even out into the sea. Mines had been 
constructed that could be depended upon to blow the intrepid first 
landing parties to pieces. The ground had been thoroughly 
studied and machine-gun batteries placed so that every inch of 
the beaches could be raked with a devastating fire. And finally 
the ranges for all the great guns in the hills beyond had been 
accurately measured so that the ships and the troops would be 
literally buried under an avalanche of shells. 




THE broad outlines of the problem that faced Sir Ian Hamilton 
and his force were comparatively simple. The assault upon 
the Gallipoli Peninsula resolved itself into rush attacks upon two 
major heights, leading up to a grand assault upon the key position 
to the Narrows. 

These three positions formed an irregular triangle. The first 
was Achi Baba, situated within three and a half miles of the tip 
of the peninsula. The second was Sari Bair, about eight miles 
due north of the Narrows. By either taking or isolating these two 
positions the Allies would be in a position for a grand attack upon 
the third and most important height, the plateau of Kilid Bahr, 
or Pasha Dagh. This position not only commanded the Narrows 
and the adjacent channel but it contained two of the great forts 
that successfully withstood the grand fleet attack. It was, in the 
minds of the allied command, the key to the whole situation. With 
Kilid Bahr in their hands, they believed the way to Constanti- 
nople would be open and the elimination of the Turk as a factor 
in the war and the settlement of the Balkan question or ques- 
tions in a manner favorable to the allied powers would neces- 
sarily follow. 

The operations as planned by Sir Ian Hamilton, then, consisted 
of a number of landings — as many as possible so as to conceal 
the real objectives of the allied troops and to disperse the Turkish 
force — and an attempt to rush the position of Achi Baba, and to 
isolate the position of Sari Bair by advancing through the low 
country that lay between that position and Kilid Bahr. 

On April 7, 1915, Sir Ian Hamilton, with his staff, returned 
to Mudros and held a conference with the naval commands. By 
the 20th his plans had been perfected and the great landing was 
fixed to take place on Sunday, April 25, 1915. During the previ- 
ous week the Allies had been making feints along the shore of 


the Gulf of Saros in an attempt to give an element of surprise to 
the real attack. 

As Sir Ian Hamilton subsequently wrote, the question of 
weather was one of vital importance to the success of the land- 
ing. If, after a number of the troops had been thrown upon the 
beaches, bad weather had intervened, prevented further landings 
and perhaps driven the fleet and auxiliary vessels to Mudros Har- 
bor, the unfortunate troops ashore would have been wiped out. 

Sunday, April 25, 1915, however, was a perfect day. The low 
mist of the early morning hid the great fleet until it was close to 
the shore of the peninsula. As the day progressed the mist dis- 
appeared, the blue sky presented an unbroken expanse, while no 
wind disturbed the placid sea. In a setting such as this was en- 
acted one of the greatest battles of all history. 

At the tip of the Gallipoli Peninsula were five small beaches. 
They were subsequently named by the Allies, for identification 
purposes, Beaches S, V, W, X, and Y. Against these points was 
to be flung the Twenty-ninth Division, supported by some of the 
naval division. These troops, once having gained the shore and 
held it against the enemy counterattacks, were to push on in all 
haste by the road that led to the village of Krithia, northwest of 
Achi Baba, turn east before reaching that place, and carry Achi 
Baba with a rush. 

At the same time the Australian and New Zealand troops were 
to effect a landing atGabaTepe, about twelve miles up the ^gean 
coast of the peninsula and about three and a half miles south of 
Sari Bair. Running southeast from near Gaba Tepe was a good 
road connecting with the town of Maidos, on the Dardanelles, 
above the Narrows. The whole way lay through low country and, 
once in command of this road, the allied troops would not only 
sever direct communications between Sari Bair and Kilid Bahr 
but would be in a position to attack the defenses of the latter on 
the flank. 

Meantime the French were to make a landing at Kum Kale on 
the Asiatic side of the straits. There is some doubt as to the real 
purpose of this landing. After the French had reembarked — 
"driven off with terrible losses," according to the Turkish official 





account — it was claimed that the landing was merely a diversion. 
Certainly nothing more than that could be claimed for a feint 
made by a portion of the Naval Division farther up the Gulf 
of Saros. 

These, then, were the plans of Sir Ian Hamilton : four land- 
ing operations in widely separated points, two of serious im- 
portance and the other two, probably, intended only to draw the 
troops and energy of the defenders. How they prospered, what 
measure of success they obtained, how the Turks, fighting with 
the valor which has made them famous through ages, how the 
British Colonial and French troops accomplished almost unbe- 
lievable deeds of heroism and skill, make one of the most f acinat- 
ing stories in the annals of warfare. 

While these operations were timed to occur simultaneously, 
they will appear more clear to the reader if they are taken sepa- 
rately and each followed to its conclusion from the opening day. 
In this way we will tell the story, first, of the Australian-New 
Zealand landing northeast of Gaba Tepe; then of the landings 
on the five beaches at the tip of the peninsula ; and, finally, of the 
French landing on the Asiatic shore and the naval brigade 
demonstration at Bulair. 

By one o'clock on the morning of Sunday, April 25, 1915, the 
allied expeditionary force had arrived within five miles of the 
Gallipoli shore. Under cover of darkness the final dispositions 
were made and the ships maneuvered so that the timing of the 
several landings would be accurately synchronized. Shortly after 
one o'clock the landing boats were lowered from the transports. 

Strung in lines of four and five the boats were slowly towed 
toward shore by steam pinnaces. Not a sound was heard but the 
panting of the engines of the little boats. The speed was ac- 
curately calculated to bring the parties close in shore with the 
first break of the dawn. 

Accompanying the Australian and New Zealand troops, were 
a number of destroyers. Just as they reached the shallow water 
in front of the cliffs of Gaba Tepe, a Turkish lookout spied them 
in the hazy light of the morning. Instantly he gave the alarm 
and a flaring searchlight flashed its rays on the little flotilla. 


The need for silence had disappeared. With a cheer the 
British troops leaped from their boats into the shoal water and 
splashed their way ashore. While many of them were still in 
their boats, however, the Turks opened fired. The whole ground 
had been carefully prepared and from every cover on the shore 
and the cliffs beyond a deadly fire was poured upon the Colonial 

Without faltering, however, the Australian and New Zealand 
troops, supported by a squadron of battleships and destroyers, 
came on straight at the strongly intrenched Turks. The first 
of the Australians to reach the shore were the Third Brigade 
under Colonel Sinclair Maglagan. With a rush they charged the 
first Turkish lines, bayoneted the defenders, and scrambled up 
the steep cliffs that rise a hundred feet in the air. 

Fortunately for the British troops, as these and subsequent 
events proved, there had been a slight miscalculation in the land- 
ing, and the men had actually gone ashore a mile and a half 
northeast of Gaba Tepe, instead of at that point. Gaba Tepe is so 
rugged and uninviting that it was believed that the Turks would 
not trouble to intrench it. Actually the Turks appeared to have 
intrenched and prepared every inch of the coast. But at Sari 
Bair, where the Australian and New Zealand troops actually 
landed, the character of the ground, although not so advantage- 
ous at first, afforded much more protection once the men were 
ashore. Sir Ian Hamilton, in his graphic account of the opera- 
tions, subsequently said : 

"Owing to the tows having failed to maintain their exact direc- 
tion, the actual point of disembarkation was rather more than a 
mile north of that which I had selected, and was more closely 
overhung by steeper cliffs. Although this accident increased 
the initial difficulty of driving the enemy off the heights inland, 
it has since proved itself to have been a blessing in disguise, 
inasmuch as the actual base of the force of occupation had been 
much better defiladed from shell fire. 

"The beach on which the landing was actually effected is a 
very narrow strip of sand about 1,000 yards in length, bounded 
on the north and the south by two small promontories. At its 


southern extremity, a deep ravine with exceedingly deep, scrub- 
clad sides, runs inland in a northeasterly direction. Near the 
northern end of the beach a small but steep gully runs up into 
the hills at right angles to the shore. Between the ravine and 
the gulTy the whole of the beach is baked by the seaward face 
of the spur which forms the northwestern side of the ravine. 
From the top of the spur the ground falls almost sheer, except 
near the southern limit of the beach where gentler slopes give 
access to the mouth of the ravine behind. Farther inland lie in 
a tangled knot the under-features of Sari Bair separated by deep 
ravines which take a most confusing diversity of direction. 
Sharp spurs, covered with dense scrub and falling away in many 
places in precipitous sandy cliffs, radiate from the principal mass 
of the mountain, from which they run northwest, west, south- 
west and south to the coast. *' 

As fresh British troops came ashore they cast aside their 
heavy packs and followed their comrades across the forty feet 
of open beach and into the scrub that covered the side of the 
cliffs. Halfway up the Turks had prepared a second position^ 
Attacking it in open formation the Third Brigade succeeded in 
clearing it within fifteen minutes of the time they came ashore, 
despite the desperate and brave defense of the Turks. 

Meanwhile some of the landing boats, subjected to the terrible 
fire of the Turkish guns, were having a bad time. The towing 
ropes of three of them were cut by the fire and the boats drifted 
helplessly about under the withering rain of bullets that rapidly 
wiped out their cargoes of men. But despite these mishaps the 
First and Second Brigades were hurried ashore to support the 
Third. Soon, in the face of terrible difficulties including the 
narrowness of the beach, there were between 3,000 and 4,000 
allied troops ashore. 

By this time the Turks, by means of the mobile carriages pre- 
pared for them by the Germans, had maneuvered some heavy 
artillery into position on the heights inland. Also some of their 
warships, moored in the Narrows, began throwing heavy shells 
across the peninsula into the allied fleet standing close inshore. 
So dangerous and accurate became this fire that the transports 


had to be ordered out to sea and this delayed the operations seri- 

At Gaba Tepe and on the heights to the north of the beach 
the Turks posted guns and enfiladed the Narrows beach. Thus 
the troops, as they landed, had to make their way through a 
rain of shrapnel, machine gun and rifle fire that wiped out hun- 
dreds. Despite the success of the Australian Brigades in clear- 
ing the beach and the face of the cliff, the Turkish fire never 
seemed to slacken. 

Because of the nature of the country there could be no central 
control over the advance fighting and no continued communica- 
tions between the several forces making their way to the top 
of the cliffs. The battle resolved itself into a series of fights 
between small parties, or even individual soldiers, whose one 
object was to kill as many of the enemy as possible and make 
their way as far inland as possible in the first rush. 

By two o'clock about twelve British regiments had been landed 
and the ground gained consolidated and prepared against coun- 
terattack. Thousands of Turkish troops were by this time pour- 
ing along the road from Maidos and by the middle of the after- 
noon it was calculated that there were fully 20,000 of them before 
the Australian and New Zealand troops. The latter, in the mean- 
time, had been further reenforced by two batteries of Indian 
Mountain Artillery. The pressure of the constantly increasing 
Turkish force compelled General Birdwood, who came ashore 
about this time, to contract his lines and to reach a decision that, 
at that time at least and until the arrival of more troops, no 
further advance could be made. The Gaba Tepe landing had 
not been the surprise that was expected and the Turks had 
proved to be in unexpected strength. 

About three o'clock the Turkish counterattacks began. Abso- 
lutely regardless of human life, they threw themselves in dense 
masses against the Second and Third Brigades. The British 
battleships, the Queen, the London, the Prince of Wales, 'the 
Triumph and the Majestic, posted close inshore, poured a de- 
vastating fire on the advancing Turkish troops as they came into 
the open. 


About five o'clock the Turks, after repeated assaults upon the 
British lines, massed for a final attempt to drive the invaders 
into the sea. On and on they came, concentrating on the hard- 
pressed Third Brigade as the weak spot in the British defense. 
Fighting gamely against heavy odds, this Australian Brigade 
which had borne the brunt of the landing attack and which had 
been almost continually counterattacked all afternoon, gave way 
slowly, selling every inch of ground dearly. Hundreds of the 
brave Turkish troops were mown down by the machine guns 
which the Australians had by this time brought ashore. At 
nightfall, however, General Birdwood, as a consequence of the 
persistence of the enemy, had to contract his lines further. 

As night settled on the battle field on the ridge above Gaba 
Tepe and Sari Bair, and the two forces rested from sheer ex- 
haustion, the British troops, who once were well inland toward 
Maidos, their objective, were barely hanging onto the ridge over- 
looking the shore of the Gulf of Saros. All their water and food 
and munitions and reenforcements had to be brought ashore 
across the exposed beach, while the landing of the necessary 
artillery in the face of the Turkish fire was a feat to appal the 
bravest. But though their hold on their position was precarious 
it was tenacious and, in the end, effective. If they had not won 
all they expected to win they had at least won a foothold in the 
face of terrific difficulties. 

While the Australians and New Zealanders were fighting 
desperately beyond Gaba Tepe, the other forces of the allied army 
were accomplishing similar deeds of heroism at the tip of the 

Coming down the coast of the peninsula from Gaba Tepe, about 
three miles from the extreme southwestern tip, was what was 
known as Beach Y. It was almost due west of the important 
town of Krithia, and the landing was intended primarily to pro- 
tect the left flank of the British landing forces from attack by 
the considerable forces believed to be concentrated there. 

The actual landing seems to have been somewhat of a surprise 
to the Turks. Indeed, subsequent events showed that they were 
correct in their estimate that a landing at the so-called Beach Y 


would be a mistake. A narrow strip of sandy beach led to the 
cliffs, two hundred feet high, that were believed to be almost 
unscalable. It is easy to be wise after the event, but military 
writers subsequently declared that if the Turks had been pre- 
pared to defend the position, the force that landed at Beach Y 
would have been wiped out in the preliminary attempt to estab- 
lish a footing. 

The force assigned to this point of attack consisted of the 
First King's Own Scottish Borderers, and the Plymouth Bat- 
talion of the Royal Naval Division, under the command of Lieu- 
tenant Colonel Koe. The latter was under orders, if the landing 
proved successful, to work his way south to effect a junction 
with the force landing at Beach X, some two miles away. 

About five o'clock, Koe's force appeared off Beach Y, on the 
transports Braemar Castle and Southland, and escorted by the 
battleship Goliath, and the cruisers Amethyst and Sapphire, 
The Turks had posted a large force at Beach Y 2, between Beach 
Y and Beach X, but half of the Scottish Borderers were ashore 
before the Turkish command had realized what was happening. 
As a result Colonel Koe's force was partly established on the 
cliffs before the Turks had begun to arrive. 

But if the initial stages were unexpectedly easy for this force, 
difficulties soon developed. Once on the heights. Colonel Koe 
ordered an advance to link up with the force at Beach X. The 
British troops had not gone far when they ran into the Turkish 
troops from Beach Y. So large was this force and so determined 
an opposition did it offer to the British troops that Colonel Koe 
soon decided it would be impossible, with the two battalions 
at his disposal, to accomplish the task assigned him. 

Early in the afternoon the little British force was dismayed 
by the approach on its left flank of a large force of Turks from 
Krithia, which threatened to cut it off from the landing beach. 
Reluctantly Colonel Koe, just before he received a fatal wound, 
gave the order to intrench. 




THE British troops were now in a critical position. There was 
a peculiar spoonlike formation of the ground at the end of the 
Gallipoli Peninsula. From the high cliffs along the shore the 
ground fell away. Thus it was impossible for the supporting 
warships lying offshore to give any effective aid to the little Brit- 
ish force once it had left the shore and the edge of the heights. 
The Turks realized to the full their advantage and attacked the 
Borderers and the marines with fury. Frequent attacks were 
launched against the dwindling line of the British force. Guns 
of large caliber were rapidly brought up from Krithia, while the 
Turks showed extraordinary daring and cleverness in bomb at- 
tacks upon the hastily dug trenches of the enemy. 

All night long the Turks attacked. By morning the remnants 
of the British force were in desperate straits. Sir Ian Hamilton 
subsequently declared that the losses at this time had been "de- 
plorable." Many of the officers, in addition to Lieutenant Colonel 
Kee, had been killed or wounded, while 50 per cent of the Border- 
ers had been put out of action. They were no longer able to de- 
fend properly their trenches. Food, water, and ammunition were 
running short. A consultation of the remaining officers was held. 
The question of trying to hold out until reenforcements arrived 
was considered, but ultimately it was decided to retreat to tha 
shore and to reembark. 

At seven o'clock on Monday morning the order was given. The 
attending fleet had been strengthened by the arrival of the 
cruisers Talbot and Dublin, and, supported by the Goliath, the 
Amethyst, and the Sapphire, they began a terrific bombardment 
of the tops of the cliffs. Protected by this screen of fire, the few 
remaining British troops were able to get away in their boats 
without molestation save for a long distance bombardment by the 
Turkish artillery. 


The landing at Beach X was more successful. The Eighty- 
seventh Brigade, under the command of Brigadier General Mar- 
shall, was assigned to this part of the field. It was to work its 
way as far as possible inland and link up with the troops coming 
ashore at Beach W. At Beach X the Turks were well prepared. 
They had constructed bomb-proof shelters and trenches on the 
heights and were well led by German officers. 

Before the actual landing the supporting battleships, led by the 
Swiftsure and the Implacable, bombarded the Turkish positions 
for almost an hour with their heaviest guns. The ground was 
thoroughly swept by the great 12-inch and smaller guns of the 
warships. Finally, just before the actual landing, the Implacable 
steamed within 500 yards of the shore, dropped her anchor and 
smothered the near cliffs and the foreshore with her fire. 

Subsequent investigation proved that in this affair of Gal- 
lipoli, as in Flanders and elsewhere, the British suffered from 
their lack of foresight in the provision of proper shells. The bat- 
tleships used shrapnel, which, it was afterward discovered, did 
little damage to the deep, protected trenches prepared by the 
Turks under the supervision of the German officers. If the Brit- 
ish had had instead the high-explosive shells that were neces- 
sary for the work, the story of the Gallipoli landings under the 
wing of the great fleet of battleships might have made different 

After about a quarter of an hour's final bombardment by the 
Implacable, two companies and a machine-gun section of the 
First Royal Fusiliers were thrown ashore at Beach X. Under 
cover of the battleships, the landing was safely accomplished and 
the Fusiliers advanced almost 1,000 yards without much opposi- 
tion. Hill 114 on their right, where the Turks proved to be 
firmly intrenched, then proved a serious obstacle to the advance. 
While the Royal Fusiliers were considering the best method of 
attacking this position, a Turkish battery, in position near the 
town of Krithia, opened fire and tore holes in the left wing of 
the British force. At the same time they were heavily counter- 
attacked by a Turkish force coming from the east. Gradually 
the Royal Fusiliers were compelled to give ground. Two bat- 

29— War St. 3 


talions of the Eighty-seventh Division were sent ashore and with 
these reenforcements the British again advanced, this time clear- 
ing Hill 114 of the enemy. There they joined hands with the 
First Battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers, and although all day 
long the Turks tried to break the union of the two forces, they 
did not succeed in doing so. 

However, General MarshalPs force was hard pressed. Once 
more the unceasing Turkish counterattacks drove them back to 
the very edge of the heights overlooking Beach X, where only the 
intense bombardment of the protecting warships saved them. 
General Marshall was wounded, but refused to relinquish his 
command, and a very large proportion of the total force was 
either killed or wounded in the day*s fighting. When night fell 
the British troops held only half a mile of territory around their 
original landing place, with their right wing resting on Hill 114, 
linked up with the force from Beach W. 

Here at Beach W, a mile and a half down the coast, midway be- 
tween Tekke Burna and Hellas Burna, was being enacted a feat 
of arms which, in the opinion of competent military men, is fit to 
rank with the great military accomplishments of all time. In 
speaking of it subsequently Sir Ian Hamilton made use of the 
following terms : 

"So strong, in fact, were the defenses of Beach W that the 
Turks may well have considered them impregnable, and it 
as my firm conviction that no finer feat of arms has ever been 
achieved by the British soldier — or any other soldier — ^than the 
storming of these trenches from open boats on the morning of 
April 25." 

At Beach W the Turks, fully foreseeing a landing, had pre- 
pared as at no other point. The beach is in a wide bay and leads 
into a gully flanked on one side by the hills extending to Cape 
Tekke and, on the other side by the steep cliffs extending to 
Cape Hellas. 

Every inch of the ground had been prepared against attack. 
Sea and land mines had been profusely laid, wire entanglements 
had been placed along the shore and stretching out into the 
water. Deep trenches had been dug on the heights and on the 


sides of the slopes while strong redoubts had been built at two 
dominating positions. Every bush and cover contained a sniper 
while larger covers concealed machine guns trained to sweep the 
beach and the slopes leading to the Turkish trenches. 

As a defensive position Beach W was almost ideal. It had two 
weak points, however, which in the end turned the scales and 
made success possible for the attacking force. At either end of 
the bay were small rock positions from which it was possible to 
enfilade the elaborate system of defenses. 

The landing party at Beach W consisted of the First Battalion 
Lancashire Fusiliers, under command of Major Bishop. "It was," 
wrote Sir Ian Hamilton, "to the complete lack of the sense of 
danger or of fear of this daring battalion that we owed our aston- 
ishing success." After a preliminary bombardment by the sup- 
porting warships the men of the First Battalion, in thirty-two 
cutters drawn by eight picket boats, approached the shore. The 
Turks made no move until the men were in shallow water and 
were leaping out of the boats. Then they opened fire with a 
murderous torrent from artillery, machine guns, and rifles. The 
first line of the First Battalion went down to a man. The second 
never faltered, but came on bravely into the fire, striving desper- 
ately to cut the wire entanglements. So quickly did they fall that 
observers on the warships wondered why they were "resting" on 
the bullet swept shore instead of running to cover. 

Rapidly the men from Lancashire worked. Finally a remnant 
of the battalion forced its way through the last line of wire and 
ran for shelter on the bush covered slopes. Almost at the same 
moment, detachments that had landed on the rocks at Cape Tekke 
and under Cape Hellas began to have an important effect upon 
the struggle. At the latter point, the Eighty-eighth Brigade, un- 
der Brigadier General Hare, clambered up the steep side of the 
cliffs, searched out the machine gun positions of the enemy and 
swept the ground clear with the bayonet. This and the work of 
the force at Cape Tekke eased the Turkish fire on the beach and, 
on the slopes of the Cape Tekke side of the ravine, the few re-* 
maining officers of the First Battalion were able to re-form the 
remnants of their force and advance upon Hill 114. 


About nine o'clock reenf orcements were landed, this time not 
on the exposed beach but under Cape Tekke, the heights of which 
were by now largely in the hands of the British troops. With the 
help of these fresh troops, three lines of Turkish trenches were 
carried. Brigadier General Hare was seriously wounded and his 
place was filled by Colonel Wolley-Dod, who was sent ashore with 
orders to organize a further advance at all speed. At this point 
the attacking force ran up against the Turkish redoubt at 
Hill 138. 

The afternoon opened with an intense naval bombardment of 
the ground around Hill 138 and of that redoubt itself. At two 
o'clock the Fourth Battalion of the Worcesters was ordered to 
take the position by assault. Under Lieutenant Colonel D. E. 
Cayley, they advanced a considerable distance under rifle fire 
and charged up the heights with a cheer. The Turks fought 
bravely against a stronger force, but by four o'clock Hill 138 
was in the hands of the Worcesters. 

Less than a mile down the coast, almost to the old fort and 
village of Sedd-el-Bahr, was what was known as V Beach. There 
a landing in great force was attempted. Largely because of the 
scale of the operations, but also because of the difficulties and the 
accidents of warfare, this landing was made with great losses. 

The beach and the shore in the immediate vicinity form a most 
regular amphitheatre of a radius of about 400 feet. The beach is 
about 10 yards wide and 350 to 400 feet long and it runs into a 
slightly concaved, grassy slope that rises gently to a height of a 
hundred feet. Little or no real cover was to be found on this slope 
and the defenders were able to sweep it from all angles with a 
devastating rain of all kinds of shells. Just at the edge of the 
strip of sand, however, was a continuous escarpment about four 
feet high, which afforded a cover in which troops once ashore 
might be re-formed. As a result of the early naval bombardment 
of the tip of the peninsula, much of the village of Sedd-el-Bahr 
and the fort and the barracks had been reduced to ruins. The 
ruins afforded, however, excellent cover for the Turkish troops 
and proved a serious obstacle to the advance of the British when 
they reached the shore. 


In addition to the natural disadvantages under which the at- 
tacking party had to work, the Turks had constructed two lines 
o£ barbed wire obstacles — one at the edge of the beach and the 
second two-thirds of the way up to the top of the ridge. These 
two lines of barbed wire were more stoutly constructed than 
were any others with which the British had to contend. Just be- 
yond the second obstacle the Turks had built their first line of 
trenches and beyond the ground was scored with innumerable 
covers for the defenders. 

The force assigned to the attack upon V Beach was composed 
of the Dublin Fusiliers, the Munster Fusiliers, half a battalion of 
the Hampshire Regiment, the West Riding Field Company and 
a few minor units. The action opened with a short range bom- 
bardment of the enemy's trenches and such parts of the fort, 
the village and the barracks as were still standing and believed to 
be affording cover for riflemen and machine-gun batteries. Then 
three companies of the Dublin Fusiliers were towed ashore. At 
this point one of the great experiments of the Gallipoli landings 
was put to the test, and, despite the cleverness of its conception, 
it did not meet with great success. 

A large transport vessel, the River Clyde, had been loaded 
with about 2,000 troops. She had been reconstructed inside and 
great doors had been cut in one of her sides. The troops were 
ready on long platforms for instant disembarkation. The ships 
were to be run ashore, as close as possible to the beach, lighters 
were to be floated in between her and the shore, the side doors 
were to be flung open, and the troops were to rush ashore and 
carry the slopes by sheer momentum. In the front of the vessel, 
protected by sandbags, was a battery of machine guns which, it 
was hoped, would be especially effective in protecting the land- 
ing force from counterattacks. 

As at the other landings, the Turks gave no sign of life until 
^ne collier had been beached and the other landing force had al- 
most reached the shore in its tows. Indeed, so long did they hesi- 
tate in opening fire that at one time the watchers on the warships 
thought the landing was going to be unopposed. They were soon 
disabused of such an idea, however, as the first of the towboats 


grounded on the sandy beach, the Turks opened fire from a 
dozen different positions. Many of the Dublin Fusiliers were 
killed before they were able to get out of their boats. A few 
scrambled ashore and reached the shelter of the escarpment that 
rimmed the beach. The Turks concentrated their fire on the boats 
and their crews. None of them were able to get away, and al- 
most instantly their crews were killed and the boats wrecked. 

Meantime the River Clyde, had been run ashore. Unfortu- 
nately, the operation was not carried out as expeditiously as it 
was hoped it would be, and the Turks soon became aware of the 
intentions of the British. They poured a punishing fire on the 
naval party attempting to get the lighters into position between 
the ship and the shore. The heavy tide that at this point sweeps 
around the point of land also seriously interfered with the work. 
Finally however, by deeds of heroism that received subsequent 
official acknowledgment, the lighters were got into position and 
the doors of the River Clyde flung open. 

At a trot a company of the Munster Fusiliers led the way. It 
was almost impossible to live for even a short time in the fire 
that the Turks concentrated upon the lighters, and hardly a man 
reached the shore. Nothing daunted, a second company of the 
same battalion followed. As they dropped in scores the lighters 
began to drift and dozens of the men, in attempting to swim 
ashore in their heavy kits, were drowned. 

Despite the storm of fire, volunteers once more swung the 
lighters into position. The third company of the Munsters were 
ordered to attempt to reach the beach. By this time the Turks 
had been able to concentrate shrapnel fire on the River Clyde 
and her human freight, and the third company suffered even 
more casualties than had the first two. 

There is a limit to human sacrifice, and Brigadier General 
Napier, in command of the troops, called a halt in the attempt to 
land. A little later, it was resumed, with General Napier and 
Captain Costeker and a detachment of the Hampshire Regiment 
heroically leading the way. When they had reached the lighters the 
moorings again gave way and they drifted into deep water. In 
the torrent of bullets that was being poured down upon them by 


the Turks it was impossible to do anjrthing but lie flat on the ex- 
posed decks and wait for the lighters to be swung into position 
again. Scores of them were killed, including both Brigadier Gen- 
eral Napier and Captain Costeker. 

With this major disaster, all attempts to make further land- 
ings were abandoned for the day. A few hundred British troops 
had succeeded in reaching the escarpment on the shore and there 
they huddled, not daring to lift their heads above the four-foot 
natural cover. Fortunately for them, the machine-gun battery 
on the River Clyde raked the slope, kept the fire of the Turkish 
defenders down and prevented any counterattacks, which might 
have ended disastrously for the British troops. The troops still 
on board the River Clyde, numbering about 1,000 were effec- 
tively protected from the fire of the Turks, suffering few casu- 
alties, although shrapnel tore four great holes in the side of the 

Matters had not gone any better at other sections of the 
beach. Half a company of the Dublins landed east of Sedd-el- 
Bahr for the purpose of flanking the Turkish defenses, failed to 
accomplish its purpose and lost all except twenty-five of its men. 
In the afternoon the landing at V Beach was definitely accepted 
as a failure and plans made for the diversion of the troops not 
yet landed to one of the other beaches. It was first thought that 
Y Beach would be the best point, but it was decided that it would 
be too late to effect the issue there and the troops were finally 
diverted to W Beach, where, despite the heavy cost, the Lan- 
cashire landing had led to some real results. 

As nightfall approached there was a momentary thrill of hope- 
fulness among those who remained on V Beach because of the 
fact that some of the Worcestershire and Lancashire Fusiliers 
succeeded in working their way across country from W Beach and 
threatened to make untenable the Turkish positions. The few 
hundred men on V Beach and the thousand or more cooped up in 
the River Clyde could hear the fight coming closer and closer and, 
cheered by their officers, their spirits rose. But the men from 
W Beach were stopped finally by the frequent lines of barbed- 
wire obstructions that had been stretched by the Turk at right 


angles to the shore, between the two beaches, in preparation 
for just such an eventuality as this. 

Night came, but with it not much relief from the constant 
vigilance of the Turks. There was in the perfect sky not a cloud 
to screen the moon's rays. A successful attempt was made, how- 
ever, to land the infantry from the River Clyde, and subsequently 
the force then ashore, numbering close upon 1,500 men, tried to 
clear the ruins of the fort and the outskirts of the village. All 
these efforts were in vain, however, and finally the troops re- 
turned to the protection of the escarpment along the shore. From 
there the task of removing the wounded to the protection of the 
River Clyde was proceeded with under a heavy fire. 

In comparison with the sanguinary affairs at the four other 
beaches, the landing at S Beach was a minor affair, costing only 
about fifty casualties. This beach was located at the extreme 
eastern end of Morto Bay, close by Eski Hissarlik Point, and the 
work was delegated to the Second South Wales Borderers under 
Lieutenant Colonel Casson. The chief difficulty of this landing 
was found in the powerful current which delayed it for several 
hours beyond the appointed time. However, the men were finally 
got ashore and easily drove out the small Turkish force that had 
been posted in the neighborhood. 



MEANWHILE the French were carrying on a disastrous 
operation at Kum Kale, on the Asiatic shore, directly south 
of S Beach. About 2,800 men had been landed after a prelimi- 
nary bombardment by the French fleet. Before they reembarked 
next morning they had lost more than a quarter of their effec- 
tives. After landing they stormed the ruined castle of Kum Kale 
and then drove inland with the object of clearing the village of 


Yeni Shehr. The Turks were in force, however, at that point and 
held the French midway between Kum Kale and Yeni Shehr. 
Finally it became apparent that further advance was impossible 
without reenforcements and the French intrenched for the night. 
All through the darkness the Turks launched a counterattack 
upon the landing force and morning found the French preparing 
to reembark. Under the guns of the French warships this was 
accomplished without any great further loss. 

Thus of the seven landings that had been attempted by the 
allied forces two, that at Kum Kale and that at Y Beach, had 
been definitely abandoned. Of the remaining five only two had 
been successful in linking up — that at Beach X and that at Beach 
W. Farther up the Gulf of Saros, near the lines known by the 
name of Bulair, a force of the Royal Naval Reserve made a 
demonstration but did not effect a landing. 

The Australians and the New Zealanders on the cliffs above 
Gaba Tepe were fighting desperately against the constant Turk- 
ish counterattacks, but, assisted by the fleet under Admiral 
Thursby, successfully resisted all attempts to drive them into 
the sea. Already the little cove in which the landing had been 
made had been christened "Anzac Cove," "Anzac," of course, 
was formed by taking the first letters of the official designation 
of the colonial forces— Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. 
The spirits of the men were high, despite the awful experience 
they had gone through, and they frequently exchanged cheery 
messages with the gunners of the warships who were pounding 
away at the Turkish positions, although not accomplishing any 
great damage in their blind firing. 

It had been intended to organize an immediate resumption of 
the advance from Anzac Cove with daybreak of April 26. But 
the Turks were constantly bringing up reenforcements. Watchers 
on the warships could see them creeping over the crest of Sari 
Bair and although the naval guns were turned on them, their loss 
was comparatively small because of their open formation and 
their cleverness in making use of every bit of cover. 

During the early morning the Anzacs had hauled heavy field 
guns up the face of the steep cliffs and had, in many other ways, 


strengthened their positions. This was all the more necessary as 
it became apparent that the Turks were massing for a great at- 
tack shortly after nine o'clock. About noon the battle reached its 
height. The Turks attacked bravely and although they suffered 
great losses, never wavered. Despite their efforts, however, the 
Anzacs held fast. By this time reenforcements were beginning to 
arrive and a more permanent character was given to the trenches. 
An attempt was made to organize for an advance as headquarters 
were constantly impressing upon the individual commands the 
necessity of making good as much ground as possible before the 
Turks were able to bring into action their undoubted superiority 
in forces. 

The constant attacks of the Turks, however, made any real at- 
tempt at advance impossible, although a little ground was gained 
on the 26th by counterattacks. It soon became apparent, too, that, 
although the operation at Anzac Cove was part and parcel of the 
general attack, it had, through its inability to make progress, be- 
come a separate affair and had been so conducted for the rest of 
the campaign — or at least until a much greater advance had been 
made in all quarters. 

At the tip of the peninsula the chief events of the second day 
of the landing, April 26, 1915, occurred at V Beach, where the 
River Clyde had been run ashore. About 1,500 men were left, 
composed of the survivors of the Dublins and the Munsters and 
two companies of the Hampshires, under cover of the escarpment 
on the beach. There Colonel Doughty-Wylie and Captain Waif ord 
rallied them on the morning of the 26th and covered by a heavy 
bombardment by the warships set out to clear the village. 
Desperate hand-to-hand fighting followed and the casualties were 
appalling. Most of the houses contained squads of riflemen and 
the more important machine guns. Each had to be carried sepa- 
rately. By noon, however, the town had been cleared. Captain 
Walford had fallen, bravely leading his troops in a way that 
earned him the Victoria Cross. 

Colonel Doughty-Wylie called a halt and collected the sur- 
vivors of the attack. Under cover of some empty houses he 
rallied them, re-formed tbem as best he could^ called upon them 


for one last effort and walked out into the open at the head of his 
troops for the assault upon the old Castle, and Hill 141. 

Carrying a light cane, the figure of Colonel Doughty- Wylie was 
a conspicuous one. Yet he survived almost to the end and to vic- 
tory. He reached the slope leading up to Hill 141, urging his men 
forward. He was in the lead when a bullet killed him instantly. 
Fired by his splendid example which earned him a posthumous 
Victoria Cross, the Dublins, Munsters, and Hampshires swept on 
and carried the summit. By two o'clock the commanding posi- 
tion was in the hands of the British. 

At the same time the Lancashire Landing force had linked up 
with the landing at V Beach. Also, the French Expeditionary 
forceT after its hard experience at Kum Kale, was successfully 
landed at V Beach. Additional troops were landed at S Beach to 
prevent the South Wales Borderers being wiped out in their iso- 

On the morning of April 27, 1915, Sir Ian Hamilton looked over 
the positions. He found that, although he had several beaches 
securely in his grasp, he lacked room in which to maneuver. 
Also his force was beginning to suffer from lack of water. Ac- 
cordingly he decided that an immediate advance was necessary. 

Sir Ian Hamilton set his men the task of clearing the com- 
paratively low ground at the tip of the peninsula — a distance of 
about two miles from the extreme southwestern point of the 
land. He drew a straight line from the position held by the 
South Wales Borderers near the ruined De Tott's Battery to Y 
Beach. After some hard fighting this was accomplished with the 
exception of the extreme left wing, which got only as far as Y 2 
Beach, where the Turks were in force. 

On the following day, April 27th, despite the fact that his 
forces were almost exhausted. Sir Ian Hamilton called upon 
them for a supreme effort. He intended, he said, to capture the 
Village of Krithia and, from that point, carry Achi Baba, the 
first main objective in the campaign to open the Narrows. 

The advance was ordered for eight o'clock in the morning. The 
Twenty-ninth Division, under Major General Sir Aylmer Hun- 
ter- Weston, was to move on Krithia, the French force was to 


move along the right flank of the Twenty-ninth to the Kereves 
Dere, which ran from the base of Achi Baba, and there await 
the capture of Krithia and the assault upon the main height. 

The leading units of the Twenty-ninth Division advanced 
almost without opposition for a couple of miles, but was then 
heavily attacked by the enemy. Despite all further attempts the 
British troops were able to make no further advance at this point 
and intrenched for the night. A little to the right, other units 
eventually got within three-quarters of a mile of Krithia, but 
finally were compelled to fall back in line with the force on its left. 
Still farther to the right the Eighty-eighth Brigade had been 
brought to a halt and found itself running short of ammunition. 

The Eighty-sixth Brigade, which had been held in reserve, came 
into action shortly after one o'clock in the afternoon. It was 
ordered to move through the Eighty-eighth Brigade and carry 
Krithia. A few units got within sight of Krithia, but the main 
body of the Eighty-sixth Brigade was unable to force a way 
beyond the line reached by the Eighty-eighth. 

The French, meanwhile, were having an equally hard time. 
At one time they were within a mile of Krithia, but ultimately 
they, in company with the whole allied line, had to give way 
before strong Turkish counterattacks. Masses of Turkish troops 
advanced against the British center and right and against the 
whole line of the French and drove them back with the bayonet. 
An almost successful attempt was made to pierce the allied line 
^t the point where the French linkied up with the British. The 
French gave way and uncovered the right flank of the Eighty- 
eighth Brigade. The Fourth Worcesters suffered cruelly and had 
it not been for the reenforcements of the Eighty-sixth Brigade 
a serious situation might have ensued. 

In speaking of this critical moment Sir Ian Hamilton sub- 
sequently wrote : 

'*The men were exhausted and the few guns landed at the time 
were unable to afford them adequate artillery support. The 
small amount of transports available did not suffice to maintain 
the supply of munitions, and cartridges were running short 
despite all efforts to push them up from the landing places." 


The situation was now becoming serious and it became ap- 
parent that Krithia could not be carried. Accordingly, the allied 
forces were ordered to dig in as rapidly as possible and hold 
their ground at all costs. Thus ended the Battle of the Landings, 
extending over three days. The results obtained fell far short 
of expectations. Krithia and Achi Baba had not been carried, 
the Australians and New